I don't think there is any argument that through August, Luis Castillo looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was having a great season, and was at the forefront of the Mariners charge to hopefully making the playoffs for a second season in a row. Today, we give him a grade for the 2023 season, although his season-ending report card looks much worse than the one he would have received if the season stopped on August 31st. We kicked off with Gilbert, let's move to Castillo.
Luis Castillo earns an A- grade for his 2023 Report Card
Let's take a look at a few things with Luis Castillo. I want to look at his month-by-month stats, and then show you where he was at the end of August.
Then there was September. 4.96 ERA. WHIP of 1.561 with 18 walks and 33 hits and a slash of .262/.356/.468. From being in second place in the Cy Young Race and a chance to cement the Mariners entry into the playoffs and possibly even the Cy Young, to failing down the stretch.
Now, do we think that maybe he just got tired? He threw 150 innings last year, 187 before that, and then it was 2020. With only one big workload over the last three seasons, is it possible that his arm just wasn't quite there yet?
If Castillo holds that end of August mark through the month of September, then there is no doubt in my mind that he would've gotten an A this season. It's especially tough with the last two games of the season when he gave up 5 across 6 innings in a loss to the Astros, and then got absolutely rocked against the Rangers, throwing 86 pitches in just 2.2 innings while giving up 4. That was his second worst game score of the season, propped up by the fact that he struck out 4 and didn't give up a homer.
The Mariners needed him more than ever in Game 161. It was, essentially, what they paid him for. We were all hoping for a start like we saw in October from him last year. The ones where he went and dominated the Blue Jays or held the Astros in check sans Yordan Alvarez, and it was still a great start. We got nothing of the sort in 161 one though, and it leaves a bad taste in everyones memory.
However, it's similar in a fashion to Robbie Ray last year. Don't let one bad thing, albeit at the worst possible time, effect your outlook on the type of player they are or how the season was. Castillo still had a great year, and was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the majority of it. 197 innings, the ability to go deep into games, and a great command of how to handle an inning when things aren't going well. It caught up to him at the end, and drops his grade down from an A to a B+.