It’s hard to find a more impressive pitcher in the early going than the Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo. He is the front runner for the NL Cy Young.
Unlike the recent history of Cincinnati Reds baseball, the starting rotation has been the team’s biggest strength in the early going of the 2019 season. No pitcher on the Reds staff has been more electric than 26-year-old ace, Luis Castillo. It’s early, but Castillo has to be the front-runner for the NL Cy Young.
The Cincinnati Reds rank second in ERA as the pitching staff has combined to post a 3.21 ERA that only falls behind the Tampa Bay Rays 3.07 ERA. Sonny Gray has posted an impressive 3.64 ERA. Anthony DeSclafani has put together several quality outings and his ERA sits at 3.48, while both Tyler Mahle and Tanner Roark have ERA’s just above four.
However, no one of the Reds staff has dominated the way Luis Castillo has. Castillo is emerging as the top of the rotation arm that the Cincinnati Reds have been missing ever since they traded Johnny Cueto to the eventual world champion Kansas City Royals in 2015.
In seven starts so far this season, Castillo has pitched to a stellar 1.45 ERA, posted a 3-1 record, struck out 50 batters in only 43.1 innings, and has held hitters to a .177 batting average against.
Not only has the right-hander emerged as the top pitcher on the Reds staff but he has put his name in early consideration for the National League Cy Young Award.
Castillo’s 1.45 ERA is the best in the senior circuit as Pittsburgh’s Joe Musgrove (1.54) and San Diego rookie Chris Paddack (1.91) are the only two starters in the NL with ERAs under two. The Reds righty ranks third in the NL in strikeouts, trailing only two of baseball’s best hurlers in the Washington Nationals’ duo of Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg.
Castilo’s 2.2 WAR ranks best in the National League at his position. The next closest starting pitcher is Colorado’s German Marquez who has posted a 1.6 WAR. Castillo sixth ranks in all of Major League Baseball in terms of WAR, trailing the likes of Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout.
With about 20% of the season now in the books, the only blemish on Luis Castillo’s resumé is the number of free passes he’s surrendered. Castillo has walked 17 batters which is tied for eighth most in the league. Other pitchers in the early conversation for the NL Cy Young, such as Joe Musgrove and Chris Paddack have both allowed less than 10.
All in all, the 2019 season is still young, but no starter has helped his team win more games or posted a better ERA than Luis Castillo. Thus, his name has to be towards the top, if not at the top, of the early Cy Young race.