Friday, December 20, 2013

Cuba Outfielder Rusney Castillo Begins Road to Fame and Fortune

Cuba Outfielder Rusney Castillo Begins Road to Fame and Fortune
December 18, 2013

HAVANA TIMES — Outfielder Rusney Castillo, 26, is the latest Cuban
baseball player beginning the fast-track road for a possible Major
League Baseball contract on the free agent market.

While still unconfirmed, his apparent escape from Cuba comes after he
was suspended months ago from playing with his team Ciego de Avila.

Baseball America writer Ben Badler puts Castillo in the Dominican
Republic from where he would train and show off his talent to scouts
from MLB teams while awaiting permission from the US Treasury
Deptartment to play ball in the United States.

In his last season with Ciego de Avila (2011-2012), the swift Castillo
hit .332 with 16 homers and 22 stolen bases in 29 attempts. The season
before hit .324 with 18 homers and 29 base steals in 35 attempts.

In his best international effort playing for Team Cuba, Castillo hit
.512 at the 2011 Panama World Cup with eight extra base hits including
two homers. At the Harlem, Holland Baseball Week in July 2012 he hit for
a .333 average.

"Castillo is short but has a strong, athletic frame at 5-foot-9, 185
pounds. His best tool is his speed, as he's an above-average runner and
one of the better base stealers in Cuba," said Badler.

"He's More of a doubles hitter than a big home run threat, Castillo puts
a charge into the ball with a line-drive right-handed swing, though he
can get long to the ball at times and some scouts think he's prone to
chasing pitches off the plate. Primarily a center fielder in Cuba,
Castillo has also played some second and third base, so his versatility
could be a draw for some teams. He's an aggressive, high-energy player,
though some teams see him as a fourth outfielder," said Badler

A pattern has developed especially over the last decade whereby Cuban
baseball stars and top prospects attempt to leave the island illegally
and are caught and suspended from playing in the Cuban league. With no
choice left to them to continue in their profession, they then succeed
at a future attempt escaping to a neighboring country.

The phenomenon has also included athletes in soccer, volleyball,
athletics and boxing.

Source: "Cuba Outfielder Rusney Castillo Begins Road to Fame and Fortune
- Havana" -

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