In a busy day filled with low-profile moves, including the signing of right-hander Chris Volstad, the Pittsburgh Pirates also inked a pair of players – Josh Hall and Wilkin Castillo – to minor-league deals Friday.
According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, who reported all three signings, Hall, a pitcher, struggled last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made just two relief appearances – allowing six earned runs in a combined one inning of work – which came via three base-on-balls and five base hits.
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However, with the Triple-A affiliates of both the Pittsburgh Pirates (yes, Hall is a former member of the Pirates organization – albeit briefly) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he was more productive, combining for 44 1/3 innings of 3.25 ERA baseball. He finished 16 games in the process, posting a 9.3 strikeouts-per-nine mark, as well – giving the Bucs reason enough to bring him back in 2015.
The 28-year-old right-hander boasts a career 4.87 earned run average across 10 minor league seasons – but in the last year-and-a-half, he appears to have turned a corner and figured some things out. He’s made 15 big league appearances – with both the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that drafted him a decade ago, and the Angels – allowing 23 earned runs in just 13 2/3 innings of work.
Castillo, who has seen time at multiple positions, playing in Mexico since 2012. Of his 729 career minor league games, over 500 of them have come behind the dish, but he has also seen time at six other positions spanning the entire diamond.
While his defensive value is evident by the fact that he can play this many positions, he is also a decent bat, as well. During his minor league career, he’s a .274/.311/.394 hitter – so there is no doubt room for improvement – but, again, the versatility in the field is where he will bring something to the table with Pittsburgh moving forward.
Whether or not either of these pick-ups will contribute at the big league level for Clint Hurdle‘s club remains to be seen, but both are solid depth signings by the front office that, at the very least, shores things up in the farm system.