The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the signings of catcher Wilkin Castillo and right-hander Josh Wall to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League spring training.
Castillo, 30, split the most recent campaign between Tijuana (eight games) and Reynosa (25 games) in the Triple-A-equivalent Mexican League. He hit a combined .206 (26-for-126) with four doubles, two triples, two homers and 11 RBIs in 33 total games between the two clubs, while making 17 starts at catcher, nine at second base and seven in the outfield.
The backstop then delivered a solid showing in the Dominican Winter Leagues by leading Escogido with 19 RBIs during the regular season and pacing the entire league with a .338 average (23-for-68) in 19 playoff games for Dean Treanor's Estrellas squad.
Originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an international free agent in 2002, Castillo ascended to the Triple-A level in just his second season of minor-league action in 2004. The switch-hitting catcher would split the majority of his next and final three seasons in the Diamondbacks' system between Triple-A Tucson and Double-A Mobile, and after excelling as the organization's "Best Defensive Catcher" in 2008 (by Baseball America), was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds with RHP Dallas Buck to help complete the deal for OF Adam Dunn. **
Castillo made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2008 and has since gone 11-for-35 (.314) with a pair of RBIs in 22 career games in the big leagues from 2008-09. Interestingly enough, the Dominican Republic native collected his first big league hit off his now-current club of Pittsburgh, while pinch hitting for ex-Pirates starter and then-Reds right-hander, Edinson Volquez, on Sept. 3, 2008.
Castillo enters the 2015 campaign having hit .274 with 54 home runs and 360 RBIs over 865 career games in the minors. He last appeared in the IL during the 2011 season, when he produced a .262 average through 80 contests with the Tribe's IL South foe, the Gwinnett Braves.
Wall, 28, pitched to the tune of a 3.22 ERA (16 ER/44.2 IP) with four saves and 46 strikeouts over 36 relief appearances between the Indianapolis Indians and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Triple-A club (Salt Lake) in 2014. While he struggled during his brief, two-game promotion to the majors with the Angels, the right-hander was dominant upon joining Pittsburgh's chain and held IL opponents to one earned run or less in 25 of his 28 outings with the Tribe.
Like Castillo, the closer Wall also continued his 2014 campaign in the Dominican Winter Leagues, where he made scoreless appearances in two of his four games with Aguilas from Dec. 12-19.
Wall originally began his pro career after signing as the Los Angeles Dodgers' second-round selection (74th overall) from the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. He was rated as a top-30 organizational prospect in six separate seasons during his climb through the Dodgers' system, an impressive stretch capped by PCL Mid and Postseason All-Star selections and his MLB debut in 2012.
During his Dodgers tenure, the Walker, Louisiana nativec ompiled 11 strikeouts over a combined 12 2/3 innings from 2012-13. He allowed runs in just four of 13 major league appearances with Los Angeles before being acquired by the Miami Marlins with RHP Angel Sanchez and RHP Steven Ames in exchange for RHP Ricky Nolasco just prior to the 2013 All-Star break. Wall then worked a brief stint with Triple-A New Orleans en route to joining the Angels' chain as a waiver claim on Oct. 4, 2013.
The 6-foot-6 hurler will enter the 2015 season with a career record of 41-51 with a 4.87 ERA, 38 saves and 679 strikeouts over 308 minor league games (115 starts). Primarily a pitcher in the hitter-friendly PCL, Wall posted a 2.91 ERA with 35 whiffs in 34 innings during his first Triple-A action in the International League in 2014.
**Castillo was one of two PTBNL in deal for Adam Dunn.
**RHP Micah Ownings became second PTBNL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.