Vinny Castilla

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Vinny Castilla
Vinny Castilla.jpg
Castilla with the San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies – No. 9
Third baseman/Coach
Born: (1967-07-04) July 4, 1967 (age 49)
Oaxaca, Mexico
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 1991, for the Atlanta Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 2006, for the Colorado Rockies
MLB statistics
Batting average .276
Home runs 320
Runs batted in 1,105
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Vinicio "Vinny" Castilla Soria (Spanish pronunciation: [kasˈtiʎa]; born July 4, 1967) is a Mexican-born former Major League Baseball third baseman who played his best years with the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves. Previously, he played with the Atlanta Braves (1991–1992, 2002–2003), Colorado Rockies (1993–1999, 2004, 2006), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2000–2001), Houston Astros (2001), Washington Nationals (2005), and San Diego Padres (2006).

Baseball career (1991-2006)[edit]

Atlanta Braves (1991-1992)[edit]

The Atlanta Braves purchased Castilla from the Saltillo club out of the Mexican League in 1990. He made his MLB debut as a shortstop for the Braves on September 9, 1991. For the 1992 season he only appeared in 9 games.

Colorado Rockies (1993-1999)[edit]

In November 1992 he was selected by the Rockies in the expansion draft, for the 1993 season he played regularly hitting 9 Home Runs, 9 Triples (8th in the league) in 105 games as a shortstop. In 1994 his playing time was reduced mainly due to the acquisition of shortstop Walt Weiss and the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike. Castilla only saw action in 52 games playing all four positions in the infield.

After the departure of starting third baseman Charlie Hayes, Castilla was the leading candidate to man third base for the 1995 season and this, along with the help of manager Don Baylor, was the turning point on Castllas's career, hitting .319 with 17 Home Runs and 48 Runs Batted In by the All Star break earning him a backup spot in the All Star team, he was later named the starting third baseman for the NL after Matt Williams was out with an injury. He finished the season with a .309 Batting Average, 32 Home Runs and 90 RBIs, in the NLDS against Atlanta he hit .467 with 3 Home Runs. Many considered Castilla's numbers to be a flux, mainly because of playing at the friendly confines of a thin-air Denver stadium, a stigma that would follow Vinny for most of his Colorado's career. However, in 1996 he surpassed his numbers from the previous year to the tune of a .304/40/113 line. For the 1997 he would have exactly the same totals of Home Runs, RBIs and Batting Average (40-113-.304)

1998 was by far the best of his career, earning him his second All Star and (first) Home Run Derby selection in front of his hometown Colorado. He finished the season with 46 Home Runs (4th in the league) and 144 RBIs (3rd) good enough numbers to finished him 11th in the NL MVP ballot. In 1999 Castilla continued to be productive hitting 33 Home Runs with 102 RBIs.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2000-2001)[edit]

Prior to the 2000 season Castilla was sent to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team that featured veteran sluggers Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn and Fred McGriff but he played only in 85 games hitting for a .221 BA and 6 Home Runs. The following year played only 24 games before being traded to the Houston Astros.

Houston Astros (2001)[edit]

After playing only 24 games for Tampa Bay at the beginning of the 2001 season Castilla was shipped out to Houston were he re-discovered his old self. He played in 122 games hitting 23 Home Runs (including 3 in a game vs. the Pirates) and 82 RBIs making it to the Post Sason with the Astros were he hit .273 with a solo Home Run in the NLDS.

Return to the Atlanta Braves (2002-2003)[edit]

He was signed as a free agent by the Braves in 2002 and although his offensive numbers declined (.232/12/61) he establish himself as a premier defender at third base leading the league in fielding average with .982. In the post season he hit a solid .320 with a Home Run and 4 RBIs. He would play another season with the Braves in 2003 finishing the year with 22 Homers and 76 Runs Batted In.

Return to the Colorado Rockies and final seasons (2004-2006)[edit]

He returned for a second stint with the Colorado Rockies for the 2004 season and had a tremendous year hitting 43 Doubles, 35 Home Runs and leading the league with 131 RBIs, defensively Castilla had arguably his best season at third base, leading the league in Fielding Average and committing only 6 errors all year long, inexplicably he was denied of a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger Award or All Star Game considerations.

He moved on to play with the (soon-to- be Washington Nationals) Montreal Expos in 2005 hitting 12 Home Runs and 66 RBIs in 142 games and finished 2nd amongst third basemen in Fielding Average with .970. In 2006 played 72 games for the San Diego Padres before being released. He then signed with the Rockies for a third time to finish his career in Colorado. His last Home Run with the Rockies came on September 9, 2006 giving him a total of 239, good for 3rd all time in franchise history.

Always a fan-favorite in Colorado, Castilla was the last player to retire from the original 1993 Colorado roster. As of 2016 he's the All-Time Home Run Leader for Mexican-Born players (320), he won 3 Silver Slugger Awards ('95, '97 and '98) and was selected twice to the All Star Game. He hit 30+ Home Runs 6 times (including 3 40-homers seasons) and drove in 100+ runs 5 times. At the peak of his career (1995 to 1999) he averaged 38 Home Runs and 112 RBIs. In post season play he finished with a .350 Average (21 of 60) in 17 games with 5 Homers and 12 RBIs. He played in 16 seasons for 6 different clubs and averaged 165 Hits, 28 Home Runs and 97 RBIs for every 162 Games Played

Many analysts attributed Castilla's numbers to the hitter-friendly Colorado stadiums. Over his career, three-fourths of his home runs (239 out of 320 = 75 percent) came during his nine years when he played all or part of his time with the Rockies. And during games played for the Rockies during those nine years, 55 percent (137 out of 249 = 55 percent) of his home runs came in home games.[1]

Post-playing career[edit]

He decided to retire after the Caribbean Series on February 7, 2007, becoming a special assistant to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd.[2] Castilla and his wife, Samantha, have 3 sons, Vinicio Jr., Daulton and Cristian.[3]

In 2007, he was named manager of the Mexico baseball team for the Pan American Games[4] and also served as manager in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.[5] In 2008, he was a player-manager for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/castivi02.shtml
  2. ^ "Vinny Castilla retires, joins Rockies front office". cbc.com. February 7, 2007. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ MLB Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights.
  4. ^ "Vinny Castilla to manage Mexican national team". espn.com. Associated Press. February 28, 2007. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Bill Mitchell (February 28, 2007). "Castilla Mentors Mexican Prospects". baseballamerica.com. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 

External links[edit]