18-Year Old Prospect Turning Heads

Peter FleischerSenior Writer IJuly 11, 2008

On June 23, a pitching line caught my eye.

It was a minor-league game, and the pitcher threw five no-hit innings, striking out six and walking just one. But when I looked at the pitcher's information, my jaw dropped.

Richard Castillo is 18-years old, and he might be the next big thing for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has started six games this season at both the High-A and Low-A levels, and put up some stunning numbers.

He's 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA, 38 Ks in 39 innings, with only 13 walks and a .203 average against. Take away his one bad start on June 28, and this kid has a 1.06 ERA!

He was signed a couple of years ago as a part of the Cardinals' recent efforts to get more involved in Latin American baseball, and he seems to be rising quickly. My only question is: how fast will this kid climb the ranks?

Although scouts are probably leery of promoting him too quickly, he's certainly dominating the level he's in.

His repertoire isn't stunning yet, but again, he isn't due to turn 19 until mid-October. He's about 6'0", with only 165 pounds on his young frame. His fastball comes in around 90 MPH right now, but his moneymaker is the curve, which apparently is unreal.

As this kid adds strength and size, more people will hear about him, but I wanted to give Cardinals fans a preview right now. Listen for this name, because he'll definitely be a familiar one in years to come.

Note: As a quick update, Cards first-round pick this season, Brett Wallace, is tearing up Class-A pitching, to the tune of a .333 average, with two HR and six RBI in his first eight professional games.