July 14, 2022;  Bronx, New York, USA;  Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) reacts during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Houston Astros’ top prospects may be involved in Luis Castillo trade talks with Reds

July 14, 2022;  Bronx, New York, USA;  Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) reacts during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

July 14, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) reacts during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Friday reports that the Houston Astros are among teams interested in acquiring right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds — from WFAN’s Sweeney Statue And Newsday’s Eric BolandMany Reds fans wondered whether the Cincinnati National League might be looking to nab any of the Astros’ top prospects in exchange for an All-Star — among others.

Earlier this week, a report from MLB Network’s John Morosi that the Los Angeles Dodgers had preliminary trade talks with the Reds regarding Castillo put the Dodgers’ top prospects on the radar for Reds fans.

MLB Pipeline ranks just one Astros prospect — right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown — in its most recent Top 100 check-in, at No. 83. Brown, 23, is 6-3 with 2.38 ERA and 1.111 WHIP – with 97 strikeouts and only allowed three homers in 72 innings for the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys this season. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Brown’s MLB Pipeline Analysis:

Scouting Grade: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Changes: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55

Brown’s only college offer as a suburban Detroit high schooler came from nearby Wayne State and he didn’t become a full-time starter at an NCAA Division II school until his junior season. He dominated that spring and went into the fifth round of the 2019 Draft, finding Anthony Bass as the Warriors’ greatest pick of all time. After making big progress with his curveball during the pandemic shutdown, he made his full-season debut in Double-A last May and earned promotion to Triple-A three months later.

Brown showed he could maintain premium velocity in college and continued to do so in a long pro season in 2021, when he was still sitting in his mid-90s and some riding action on his four-seam fastball in September with a speed of 99 mph. But his most devastating weapon is a power curveball that sits in the low 80s and seems to be coming out of his high three-quarter arm slot. He also has a mid-80s slider with more horizontal action and a fading change with equal velocity that’s most effective when he zoned it.

While there’s no question about Brown’s pure stuff, he’s still working on his experience for pitching. He doesn’t rely solely on his variation or repeating his deliveries consistently, although his control had improved during his two months in Triple-A. The Astros love their work ethic, citing the profit they made when pitching a homemade mound in their backyard during the 2020 layoffs.

From MLB.com about the four players who round out the team’s top five prospects, including analysis from the website:

Catcher Corey Lee, age 23

Scouting Grade: Hits: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Lee went from posting .724 Ops as a part-time player in his first two college seasons in California to bat in 2019 at .337/.416/.619 behind No. 3 overall pick Andrew Vaughan . Although most teams rated Lee more as a third-round talent, the Astros bought in his raw power and arm strength and selected him 32nd overall, where he signed for the slot below $1.75 million. After losing a year of development to a pandemic layoff, he moved from High-A to Triple-A during the start of the 2021 full-season and demonstrated improvement on both sides of the ball.

SS/Off Pedro Leone, age 24

Scouting Grade: Hits: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 80 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

A Cuban defender who was declared a free agent in December 2019, Lyon waited until January 2021 to sign for $4 million, the biggest bonus in the 2020-21 international class. The Astros pushed him aggressively in his US debut, starting him in Double-A, promoting him to Triple-A after 10 weeks and playing mainly at shortstop despite most of his prior experience coming in center field. . He batted just .220/.339/.369 with a 31 percent strike rate, although this came after a two-year layoff and against a far more advanced pitching than before, and he ended up breaking his left arm. before it was starting to take off. Pinky on a slide and almost two months missing.

RHP Forrest Whitley, age 24

Scouting Grade: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Cutter: 55 | Changes: 60 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

Whitley has gone from the game’s top pitching prospect to his most enigmatic. He reached Double-A and seemed on the verge of the big leagues a year after the Astros made him the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Texas high school. But he has since spent almost all of his success in two major Arizona Fall League stints as he received a 50-game suspension for a minor league drug program violation, as well as minor oblique and latent injuries (2018), swelling of the right shoulder. Lost time together. Command Issue (2019), Epidemic Close and Elbow Pain (2020) and Tommy John Surgery (2021) which will sideline him until mid-2022.

Colin Barber, age 21

Scouting Grade: Hits: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

Barber’s combination of power ability and speed earned her a bonus of over $1 million in 2019 as a fourth-round pick. Due to pandemic closure in 2020 and labrum surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder in 2021, he only earned 141 at-bats in his first three years as a pro, including only 42 in full-season balls. Are included. The Astros still have high hopes from him and believe his equipment and work ethic will allow him to recover from lost time, and a club official compares his intensity to Alex Bregman.

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This article was originally published on the Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds may seek Astros’ top prospects in Luis Castillo trade talks

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