Kervin Castro, RHP
DOB: February 7, 1999
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2, 2015
LAST LEVEL: Short-A
GiantFutures Ranks: #5 Relief Pitcher
Performance: 2019 was a big year for Kervin Castro, mostly health-wise, because it was his first year of being healthy enough to pitch since 2016. And he looked good, putting up a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts. He was not very hittable, with just a .211 average allowed, and while he did not dominate hitters in terms of strikeouts (61 in 67.2 innings, a 8.1 SO9 rate), he showed excellent control (1.7 BB9 rate).
This happened after two years spent almost entirely on the 60-day disabled list after Tommy John surgery. He did get into one game in 2018, pitching just an inning in relief.
In 2020, Castro reportedly saw a huge jump in velocity, and was averaging 96 mph on his fastball. The impression was enough that the Giants felt they had to protect him on the 40-man roster so he wouldn’t get plucked away, despite how far from the majors he was.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Well…I’ve got to be honest, Castro is a bit of an unknown quantity outside of the Giants organization. There aren’t a ton of scouting reports on him. In 2019, he spent extended spring training hitting 98 mph and sitting in the mid-90s, but in the summer at S-K he was in mostly the low-90’s. Then in 2020, his average fastball in instructs was reported at 96.
There’s a lot of questions about that variance. In 2019, he could’ve lost velocity as the year went on due to fatigue, as he was in his first full year of throwing in a long time. Or, it could be that he was starting, and thus his velocity was a tick down, rather than the shorter stints he was in for instructional league. Or it could’ve been intentional that the Giants had him throw less than 100% for conditioning.
Castro has a changeup and curveball for offspeed pitches, but both are about average right now.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention a different weakness for Castro: he’s on the 40-man roster now, which means he has three years of options (barring changes to the CBA next year). That means, he needs to be on the fast track, and go through four levels of the minors and get to the Majors in three years or be exposed to waivers.
2021 Outlook: Clearly, the Giants liked what they saw in Castro. Normally, I’d say he’s a sure bet for Low-A San Jose, but considering the timeline he now has, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants push him to High-A and test him. The bigger question is whether he starts in the rotation or the bullpen, and again the accelerated timeline leans towards the bullpen to help him move quickly.
Future Profile: Despite the Tommy John surgery, it would have been interested to see what Castro could do in the rotation on a normal development track. His strikeout rate did not look dominating, but the first full year after TJ surgery isn’t the best to go on. However, now that he has to make the Majors more quickly, Castro should end up in the bullpen, where his increased velocity might stick. It’s nearly impossible to project him, but his velocity doesn’t feel like a closer role, so I’d say his likely role will be in the middle of the bullpen. But his future will become more clear after another year of experience.