Rusney Castillo Peraza
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 170 lb.
Castillo debuted in 2008-2009 at age 22; he went 15 for 43 with 3 doubles, a triple and four walks. He fielded .911, backing up Mario Vega at second base and Adonis García at third. As a utility man in 2009-2010, he hit .303/.333/.404. He became the starting right fielder in 2010-2011 and responded with a .324/.373/.555 line. He hit 22 doubles and 18 homers, scored 75 runs and drove in 79 in 88 games. He was 10th in the Cuban Serie Nacional in RBI, tied Urmaris Guerra for 9th in total bases (202) and led with 29 steals, 6 more than runner-up Yoelvis Leyva. He was caught only six times. Surprisingly, he had only stolen successfully twice in eight tries over his first two campaigns.
In early 2014, he defected from Cuba and established residency in Haiti; he was cleared by the United States government to sign a contract in July, starting a bidding war among major league teams. 28 teams sent scouts to see him, and at least seven of them were willing to offer him big money. On August 22nd, it was reported that the Boston Red Sox had won the sweepstakes with a bid of $72.5 million over seven years, although the deal would not be made official for a few more days. It was the largest amount paid to sign an amateur player, topping the $68 million paid by the Chicago White Sox for 1B Jose Abreu a year earlier. Castillo was expected to make his big league debut before the end of the season, in spite of not playing competitively for a year and a half and indeed he made his big league debut on September 17th without having played a minor league game. He started in centerfield for the Red Sox that day, batting 7th, and went 1 for 4 in a 9-1 loss to the Pittsbugh Pirates. His first big league hit was a 4th-inning single off Francisco Liriano. He ended up with outstanding numbers - a batting line of .333/.400/.528 with a double and two homers in 10 games.
Castillo hit a bump in spring training in 2015 as he missed two weeks of exhibition games with an oblique injury. He hit well when he returned, but by that time, the centerfield job had been claimed by Mookie Betts who put up otherworldly numbers in the spring. With that position taken, veterans Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino playing the outfield corners and his other position, second base, manned by Dustin Pedroia, there was no place for him in thestarting line-up. With the team brass wanting him to see a lot of playing time to make up for his curtailed 2014 season, he was sent to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox to start the year. He hit .293 in 18 games before getting called up to Boston on May 22nd.