Castillo represents Reds as first-time All-Star

Righty first Cincy starting pitcher selected to ASG since 2014

June 30th, 2019

CINCINNATI – Following a 2016 season in which veteran Dan Straily won 14 games, threw 191 1/3 innings and posted a 3.76 ERA, the Reds traded him to the Marlins for three young players that included Minor League pitcher . Fans were unhappy at the time, because Straily was the best starter for a struggling rotation.

Now? No one is complaining. Least of all Castillo, who was named a National League All-Star for the first time in his career on Sunday. He is the lone Reds representative.

“I think it was a very good trade,” Castillo said via interpreter Julio Morillo. “They gave me the opportunity, they trusted me to be a big league pitcher, and thank God that everything has worked out really well for me and the team.”

Castillo, 26, is 7-3 in 17 starts with a 2.47 ERA that was ranked fourth-best in the NL behind Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers, rookie Mike Soroka of the Braves and Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Castillo was tied for sixth with 115 strikeouts.

Reds manager David Bell held a team meeting before Sunday’s 8-6 win over the Cubs to deliver the news.

“That was one of the best honors I've had,” Bell said. “Not only because of the season he's had, but also how hard he's worked his whole life to have an opportunity like this and all the people who have helped him along the way. Even more than that, the person that he is and the teammate that he is, just to be able to stand in front of the team -- he didn't know -- and to be able to do that in front of all the people he cares about is a great personal honor.

“Just to be able to see the look on his face and be able to reflect a little bit. He absolutely deserves it, it's just one more thing he can continue to build on in his development and his confidence level. It will be fun to watch him.”

The last time Cincinnati sent a starting pitcher to the All-Star Game was 2014 in Minneapolis, when Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon both made it.

“I'm really happy, grateful to be here, grateful to all the coaches,” Castillo said. “I achieved this thanks to the Reds and all the coaches who put in a really good effort.”

The 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be played on July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage.

MLB Network, and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. During the game, fans may visit and the 30 club sites to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Good things appeared to be in Castillo’s future when he debuted for the Reds in the middle of the 2017 season. In 15 starts, he posted a 3.12 ERA. He fell back in an up-and-down 2018 with a 4.30 ERA, but the right-hander had a 2.44 ERA in 11 second-half starts. That included a 1.09 ERA over his final five starts.

The upward trajectory continued this season. Through his first seven starts, Castillo had a 1.45 ERA and was named NL Pitcher of the Month for March/April.

“You set goals, that's the main thing,” Castillo said. “You come to the stadium to work. Every time you pitch, you improve and get better and work hard.”

Castillo, a native of the Dominican Republic, planned on bringing his parents and brothers with him to Cleveland.

“I want to enjoy that moment and spend time with my family and enjoy that game and enjoy the moment,” he said.

One other person joining Castillo is Morillo, who has been his interpreter throughout his big league career.

“Yeah, he's going with me,” Castillo said, this time in English.

During Spring Training, Castillo had a goal of being named the Opening Day starter, and it happened. His next goal was to become an All-Star -- check.

What’s next?

“Now I'm going to be looking for the Cy Young,” Castillo said.