2021 Dynasty Player of the Week: Luis Castillo

by Nick Zaniboni
2023 Fantasy Baseball Trends: Christian-Encarnacion Strand

Welcome back to our 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week! This week we are looking closely at a player who is quite controversial this upcoming season. Our focus this week is Reds pitcher Luis Castillo.

I hope everyone is having a good week thus far. I have a substantial personal announcement, this summer, I will be trying to dress in the most ridiculous way possible. This began as one would expect: by purchasing a pair of crocs this week. If, by some strange chance, you happen to run into me in an actual life situation, please know that my goal is to look as ridiculous as possible. If you see a woman eight feet behind me, it's my lovely girlfriend embarrassed by me...

Before we get started, it's time for some cheap plugs for myself. 

First, make sure you follow us on Instagram @fantasysixpack! I share my three favorite DFS plays on the page every day in our Reels feed.

Next, don't forget to tune into the On Deck Circle Podcast live on Tuesday nights. You can find it on our YouTube and our Twitter as well. I am constantly learning from my co-hosts, Dave and Jason! Speaking of Dave, here are his latest rankings

2021 Dynasty Player of the Week: Luis Castillo

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The Sinker

During the 2017 season, Castillo made his debut and ended up putting up some solid numbers. He finished with an ERA of 3.12, 98 strikeouts in 15 games started. He ended up finishing 8th in the NL rookie of the year voting. One of the biggest keys to Castillo's rookie season was the development of his sinker. He began to throw it in the middle of July, and the pitch topped off at 97 mph. He used this pitch to induce more ground balls. Below I will be posting his sinker usage rate.

2017 - 15.7%

2018 - 20.5%

2019 - 20.8%

2020 - 25.2%

2021 (so far) - 20.3%

Castillo believes that this is a plus pitch for him; however, how are batters doing against this pitch? Well, in the last two seasons, hitters were fairing pretty well last year, hitters are hitting .293, and this year (shield your eyes) are hitting well over .400 vs. the sinker.

The XBA is pretty jarring, dropping over 120 points. He might be getting a little unlucky when throwing the pitch.

So the answers seem to be simple for the struggles this year; maybe throw the sinker less? This season he has thrown the sinker 233 times. The hitters are hitting it, so I think it is time for a change in pitching strategy.

Slide to the Left

I've been trying to understand spin rate more now, especially with the new "controversy" of Spider Tack. After some podcast listening, the grip from Spider Tack is increasing the spin rate at a rapid pace, allowing the ball to resist its natural dropoff or break on impossible angles. However, other substances like sunscreen, rosin, pine tar, or even bong resin (I'm looking at you, Dallas Braden) is more for grip and control. So with that, I wanted to look at the spin rate of Castillo's most successful pitch this season.

Castillo does have a plus pitch that induces ground balls. However that pitch is not the sinker, it is a slider. He has thrown his slider a total of 206 times, hitters are hitting under .200, and the pitch has the highest spin rate of any of his pitches at 2420.

Expect the Unexpected

We all know Luis Castillo, but do we know the real Luis Castillo? Every year he seems to be surprising dynasty managers. Here is the breakdown of dynasty owners' thoughts on our guy.

2017 - huh, interesting

2018 - serviceable

2019 - wait, could he be SP1

2020 - A full season of this would be unbelievable

2021 (so far) - Well I can't trade him

There was an upward trajectory that seemed like we could have a fantasy stud that came from relative obscurity.

2021 and Beyond

This year has been not great; he has an era north of six. Castillo is currently leading the MLB in earned runs with 46. He has become some sort of inside joke in the fantasy community about starting him in weekly leagues. Some of his advanced stats are pretty encouraging. He holds a Xera of 4.02, which's more than two points less than his traditional ERA.

To be honest, I am a big fan of Castillo, and I would recommend going to get him. I'm not sure how you can acquire him because going into the year, he was touted as a top 50 pick in most drafts. I would slightly overpay at his current value and hope you can luck out and he returns to form.

Castillo is a mixed bag when it comes to percentile rankings, but again, some stats show that his numbers are not as bad as they seem.

Good luck in your pursuit of getting a pitcher who has been decent as of late. In his last three starts, he has given up a total of 6 runs and not giving up more than three in any of them. Could this be the corner we are looking for? I sure hope/I sure think so!

Enjoy your week, everyone!


Check out all the 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from this great group of writers.

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