|Boston Red Sox|
July 9, 1987 |
Ciego de Avila, Cuba
|September 17, 2014, for the Boston Red Sox|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||35|
|Pan American Games|
|2011 Guadalajara||Team competition|
Rusney Castillo Peraza (born July 9, 1987) is a Cuban professional baseball outfielder in the Boston Red Sox organization. Listed at 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) and 186 pounds (84 kg), he bats and throws right handed.
Castillo was born in Ciego de Ávila, a city located in the central part of Cuba and the capital of Ciego de Ávila Province. At age 22, he showed enough skills to land a spot on Los Tigres, the nickname for Ciego de Ávila's club in the Cuban National Series. Additionally, he played with the Cuban national baseball team in several international tournaments, including the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games, before defecting from Cuba to the United States in December 2013 to pursue a Major League Baseball career. Castillo signed a $72.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on August 23, 2014 which runs through 2020.
Cuban baseball career
Castillo joined the Ciego de Ávila team in the 2008–2009 season, playing for them through 2012–2013. Used sparingly during his first two seasons, he played only 28 games in his rookie year and 44 as a sophomore, while hitting averages of .349 (15-for-43) and .303 (30-for-99), respectively. He spent most of his time playing second base, third base, and the corner outfield positions, until becoming a solid center fielder in the years to come.
His breakout season came in 2010–2011, when he got a major boost in playing time and posted a .320 average with 22 home runs and 95 runs batted in in 107 games, including 75 runs scored, 27 doubles, five triples, and a league-lead 32 stolen bases.
Castillo enjoyed another fine season in 2011–2012, as he batted .342 and slugged .574 in 113 games, stealing 27 bases and collecting a very solid .408 on-base percentage, while driving in 84 runs and scoring 101 times. In addition, he topped the league with 37 doubles, ranked 13th in batting average and tied for third in stolen bases.
Castillo played his last season in 2012–2013. But this time his batting average declined to .274, as well as his games played (68), going 64-for-234 with six homers, 29 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
In between, Castillo gained prominence as a member of the Cuban national baseball squad. With Yoenis Céspedes and Leonys Martín gone from Cuba, he became the regular center fielder for his team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup held in Panama. Castillo was named to the tournament’s All-Star team after leading the World Cup in batting average (.512) and slugging (.854) while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.524). Overall, he went 21-for-41 with four doubles, two triples and two homers in 10 games.
Castillo also played in the 2011 Pan American Games hosted by Mexico, where he hit .273 (6-for-22) and slugged .318 with a .333 OBP. In the same year, he played in the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. Then, in 2012 he appeared in exhibition baseball series held at Nicaragua, Taiwan, Japan and Cuba, where he faced the U.S. College National Team, in preparation for the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic. Castillo was originally slated to be part of the team, but he did not make the final cut. According to an official statement released, he was suspended for trying to defect.
As the Havana Times reports, 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.
Finally, Castillo attempted to leave Cuba once more, and was successful. In early June 2014, he was granted official free agent status by Major League Baseball after establishing permanent residency in the Dominican Republic and being unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Boston Red Sox
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2017)
On August 23, 2014, the Boston Red Sox signed Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract. Castillo was given the jersey number (#38) he wore in Cuba. He made his Major League debut on September 17, 2014 as the Red Sox starting center fielder. On June 18, 2016, Castillo was put on waivers by the Red Sox. He cleared waivers on Monday, June 20, and was sent to AAA Pawtucket.
- "AmazingAvenue. com – International Free Agent Profile: Rusney Castillo".
- "CubanPlay.com – Series Nacionales … Rusney Castillo Peraza".
- International Baseball Federation – Individual awards and the All Star Team of the 39th IBAF World Cup
- HavanaTimes.org – Cuba Outfielder Rusney Castillo Begins Road to Fame and Fortune
- "Red Sox Introduce Rusney Castillo, Could Be September Addition". Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Townsend, Mark, "Report: Red Sox place $72.5M outfielder on waivers". Yahoo! Sports. June 19, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.
- Mastrodonato, Jason. "Rusney Castillo clears waivers, Red Sox still hopeful he could turn career around". Boston Herald. June 20, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.