Luis Castillo

Garion Thorne lays out his list of top 150 hitters and pitchers as the 2020 MLB season draws near. Aside from his rankings, he goes into why Reds’ ace Luis Castillo should slide onto your team with his exceptional changeup that baffled hitters last season, why advanced metrics show that Jose Altuve could be seeing a drop in the power categories and a sleeper pick who finds themself on one of the most hyped teams in the National League.



SUNDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN SPOTLIGHT


1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – OF
2. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers – OF
3. Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves – OF
4. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers – 1B,OF
5. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – OF
6. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees – SP
7. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets – SP
8. Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies – SS
9. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – SS
10. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros – 3B,SS
11. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals – OF
12. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals – SP
13. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros – SP
14. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves – 1B
15. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres – SS
16. Trea Turner, Washington Nationals – SS
17. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies – 3B
18. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels – 3B
19. José Ramírez, Cleveland Indians – 3B
20. J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox – OF
21. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox – 3B
22. Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals – SP
23. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers – SP
24. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – OF
25. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals – SP
26. Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians – SP
27. Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees – 2B,SS
28. Pete Alonso, New York Mets – 1B
29. George Springer, Houston Astros – OF
30. Starling Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks – OF
31. Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays – OF
32. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – OF
33. Javier Báez, Chicago Cubs – SS
34. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox – SS
35. Jonathan Villar, Miami Marlins – 2B,SS
36. Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays – SP
37. Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians – SP
38. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies – OF
39. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs – 3B,OF

40. Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds – SP
There’s a premium you have to pay in 2020 to have access to top-flight pitching and I’m more than willing to shell out some serious dough to get Castillo on all my teams. The man we were all expecting to break out in his sophomore campaign took an extra 365 days to impress, but I truly believe the right-hander is now here to stay. Just take a quick glance at how Castillo stacked up against all other qualified starters. The 27-year-old ranked second in ground ball rate (55.2%), fourth in swinging strike rate (15.9%), 12th in xFIP (3.48) and 15th in strikeout rate (28.9%). The key to his emergence? Quite possibly the nastiest changeup in all of baseball. Castillo threw the pitch in a career-high 32.5% of counts last season and opponents managed just a .071 ISO against the offering; not to mention a 27.5% whiff rate. With an above-average slider also sitting in his arsenal, Castillo will be a SP1 this summer.

41. Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals – SS
42. Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros – OF
43. Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox – SP
44. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks – 2B,SS,OF
45. Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves – 2B
46. Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals – 2B,OF
47. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees – 1B,2B,3B
48. Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers – 2B
49. Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres – SP
50. Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals – SP
51. Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs – SP
52. Yoán Moncada, Chicago White Sox – 3B

53. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros – 2B
I feel the need to preface this by saying this ranking has almost nothing to do with garbage cans or buzzers. However, if that’s the narrative you need to steer clear of Altuve this season, by all means, take that route. No, my reluctance to buy Altuve in 2020 has a lot more to do with impending normalization when it comes to the veteran’s power numbers. There’s so, so many ways to cast a shadow of doubt on the 31 home runs Altuve managed, but none is more convincing than his batted ball profile. Among the 58 players who exceeded the 30 home run plateau last year, Altuve had by far the highest ground ball rate at a staggering 49.9%. That lack of launch angle led to the diminutive second baseman needing a 23.3% HR/FB ratio to supply his pop, despite the fact his prior career-high in that category had been just 14.6%. Add in his dwindling stolen base totals and you’ve got the reasons I’ll be looking elsewhere in Round 3 of drafts.

54. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays – 3B
55. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies – C
56. Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers – RP
57. Eugenio Suárez, Cincinnati Reds – 3B
58. Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees – OF
59. Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays – SP
60. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – SP
61. Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays – SP
62. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies – SP
63. Eloy Jiménez, Chicago White Sox – OF
64. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres – 3B,SS
65. Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins – DH
66. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers – 1B,2B,3B
67. José Abreu, Chicago White Sox – 1B
68. Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers – OF
69. Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics – 1B
70. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals – 1B
71. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs – 1B
72. Tommy Pham, San Diego Padres – OF
73. Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays – SS
74. Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres – RP
75. Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets – SP
76. Victor Robles, Washington Nationals – OF
77. Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins – 3B
78. Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics – 3B
79. Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves – OF
80. Zack Greinke, Houston Astros – SP
81. Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox – OF
82. Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals – OF
83. Gary Sánchez, New York Yankees – C
84. Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds – SP
85. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees – RP
86. Roberto Osuna, Houston Astros – RP
87. Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds – 2B,3B
88. Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates – 1B
89. Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers – SP
90. Ramón Laureano, Oakland Athletics – OF
91. Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics – SS
92. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox – SS
93. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros – SS
94. Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox – C,1B
95. Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins – C
96. Michael Conforto, New York Mets – OF
97. Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds – OF
98. Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins – OF
99. Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics – RP
100. Jeff McNeil, New York Mets – 2B,3B,OF
101. Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox – OF
102. José Berríos, Minnesota Twins – SP
103. Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds – SP
104. Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves – SP
105. Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks – 2B,3B
106. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – DH, SP
107. Oscar Mercado, Cleveland Indians – OF
108. Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians – SP,RP
109. Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics – SP
110. Corey Kluber, Texas Rangers – SP
111. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox – SP
112. Michael Brantley, Houston Astros – OF
113. Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins – 1B, 3B
114. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies – 1B
115. Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles – 1B,OF
116. Ken Giles, Toronto Blue Jays – RP
117. Brad Hand, Cleveland Indians – RP
118. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins – RP
119. Edwin Díaz, New York Mets – RP
120. Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers – SP
121. Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies – SP
122. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians – 1B
123. Danny Santana, Texas Rangers – 1B,2B,3B,SS,OF
124. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs – C
125. Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays – 2B,OF
126. Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres – SP
127. Jesús Luzardo, Oakland Athletics – RP
128. Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins – OF
129. Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs – OF
130. Franmil Reyes, Cleveland Indians – OF
131. David Dahl, Colorado Rockies – OF
132. Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks – SP
133. Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks – SP
134. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays – SP
135. Max Fried, Atlanta Braves – SP
136. Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks – SP
137. Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers – C
138. Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros – 1B,3B
139. Amed Rosario, New York Mets – SS
140. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays – 2B, OF
141. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins – OF
142. Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers – 3B

143. Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers – SP
I’m not sure if Urias is post-hype or post-post-hype at this point in his career, but the fact remains that he was once the top left-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline and he’s still just 23 years old. Reports out of Dodgers camp this season are that Urias is being stretched out in order to join the starting rotation and, while his innings will surely be managed, the southpaw clearly has the potential of a Top 30 arm. In his 10 starts in 2019, Urias pitched to a 3.05 FIP and managed a 29.4% strikeout rate that was actually considerably better than his rate as a reliever. Urias also limited opponents to a paltry .267 expected wOBA – an elite mark among pitcher who faced at least 250 batters. There’s obvious risk here, but the potential for reward is tantalizing.

144. Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox – SP
145. Edwin Encarnación, Chicago White Sox – 1B
146. Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins – SS
147. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers – SS
148. Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers – SS
149. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers – RP
150. Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds – RP


Click on a name to see each of the rankings with additional analysis

Top 150

Steve Buchanan

Zach Thompson

Tim Finnegan

Greg Ehrenberg

Julian Edlow

Mike Barner


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