Editor's note: We've made a change with the PuRPs list this year, deciding to unveil each player individually over the course of a few weeks. To keep track of the rankings, keep checking our PuRPs list StoryStream.
PuRP No. 19: Ryan Castellani (140 points, 14 ballots) | Summer 2014 Ranking: 25 | High Ballot 16, Mode Ballot 16, 18, 19, 22, 23
Castellani, an 18-year-old right-hander who played at Short Season-A Tri-City, was Colorado's second round pick in this year's draft. The Arizona high school product signed for $1.1 million, slightly below slot. In 37 innings for Tri-City -- against hitters who on average were three and a half years older than him -- Castellani had a 3.65 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 4.23 FIP, and 6.1 K/9.
In a great pitching environment like Tri-City, those aren't spectacular numbers (especially the K rate), but in the context it was more than acceptable for a high school draftee debuting in the Northwest League. In fact it's very telling about how the Rockies view Castellani as a prospect that they would move the teenager past the rookie league Grand Junction squad directly to the more advanced Northwest League affiliate, which is normally populated by their college draft picks.
Here's a selection of what prospect guru David Hood said about Castellani when the Rockies drafted him:
Castellani's strengths are closely tied in to the Rockies' pitching philosophy preached over Spring Training, that being the use of a heavy two-seam fastball down in the zone to limit hard contact. ... The knock you read on Castellani is in his secondary pitches, and in the videos available, it's hard to see much of either his curve or his change. ... Because he lacks the power of pitchers going around him, Castellani may require a bit more time in the lower levels before starting his climb, and he probably doesn't project more than a No. 3 or 4 at this point.
Castellani's delivery has been compared to Eddie Butler's; while Castellani's secondary stuff might not be there now, he seems like a scheme pick for Colorado's pitching philosophy. The combination of that placement in Tri-City, his draft status, and his pitching profile were enough for me to place Castellani 17th on my personal list.
Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs placed Castellani 18th among Rockies prospects:
Castellani was one of my favorite projection arms in the 2014 draft and the Rockies agreed, giving him $1.1 million in the 2nd round. The 6'4/190 righty was into the 90′s as a prep sophomore with projection and an easy delivery; he's still around 90 now, but hit 95 mph early in his draft year. The separator here is a three-pitch mix and command that have all been above average at times and the body/athleticism that scouts can bet on.
Look for Castellani to debut with Low-A Asheville next year, at which point we'll have a much better feel on where he stands as a prospect.
Contract Status: 2014 second round, not Rule 5 eligible, three options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2018