Welington Andres Castillo
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 220 lb.
Castillo came stateside in 2006, playing for the AZL Cubs (seven games) and Boise Hawks (three games), hitting .188 while missing over two months with a sprained left ankle. In 2007, he hit .271/.334/.423 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI for the Peoria Chiefs. He had 15 errors in his first regular action as a fielder, the highest total by a backstop in the Midwest League. He split 2008 between the Daytona Cubs (.273/.299/.339 in 33 games), Tennessee Smokies (.298/.362/.414 in 57 games) and Iowa Cubs (1 for 5 in his lone game), hitting .287 with four home runs in 91 games. In the 2008 Futures Game, Welington started at catcher for the World team. He struck out against Trevor Cahill in the second and Will Inman in the fifth before being replaced by Jesus Montero. Baseball America named him Chicago's #5 prospect going into 2009.
With the Smokies again in 2009, Castillo's average dropped to .232/.275/.386 with only 15 walks in 95 games, however he hit 11 home runs and drove 39 runs in. He turned eight double plays to lead Southern League catchers. He was added to Chicago's 40-man roster in November.
He began 2010 with the Iowa Cubs and hit .251/.317/.507 with 13 homers and 57 RBI, both new career highs. He threw out 40% of opposing base-stealers. He was called up when Geovany Soto went on the disabled list. He made his debut in the big leagues on August 11, going 1 for 3 with a double (off Barry Zito) against the San Francisco Giants. On September 19th, he was involved in a frightening incident when his bat shattered and a fragment hit teammate Tyler Colvin, who was standing in the on-deck circle, in the chest. Colvin suffered a punctured lung. He finished the season hitting .300 in 7 games. Bothered by injuries, he only played 61 games at Iowa in 2011, batting .286 with 15 homers; he also spent time with the AZL Cubs and Daytona Cubs on rehabilitation assignments. He did play 4 games with the Cubs, going 2 for 13 (.154).
He was traded to the Seattle Mariners on May 19, 2015 in return for P Yoervis Medina, but after barely two weeks with Seattle, during which he played 6 games, he was traded again, this time to the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 3rd. In contrast with the Cubs and Mariners, the D-Backs had a clear need for a catcher, having just lost starter Tuffy Gosewisch to a season-ending knee injury; Castillo and fellow veteran Jarrod Saltalamacchia, called up from the minors, were to share the catching burden. Joining Welington in the trade were P Dominic Leone and two prospects, IF Jack Reinheimer and OF Gabby Guerrero, while the Mariners received OF Mark Trumbo and P Vidal Nuno. Castillo went on a power surge for the Diamondbacks starting on July 28th, as he hit 7 homers in 10 games. When he hit home run number 15 in a 13-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on August 10th, he set a new career high with seven weeks still left to go in the season. He finished the year with 17 homers in 80 games for the D-Backs for a total of 19. He hit .255 and drove in 50 runs for Arizona. He was the team's starter again in 2016, playing 113 games and hitting .264 with 24 doubles and 14 homers with 68 RBIs. His lack of walks (33 against 121 K's) meant his OPS+ was only 92, while the D-Backs had a wretched season.
On May 19, 2017, playing for the Baltimore Orioles after signing as a free agent in the off-season to replace Matt Wieters, he had the best game of his career when he homered twice against the Toronto Blue Jays. The second homer was a walk-off shot off Jason Grilli in the 10th inning that gave Baltimore a 5-3 win; his first long ball had been a game-tying two-run shot off Aaron Sanchez in the 6th. He played 96 games, hitting .282 with a career-high 20 homers and 53 RBIs. He became a free agent again after the season and joined the Chicago White Sox. He was hitting .267 in 33 games when on May 23rd, a story emerged that he would be suspended 80 games for failing a drug test, something which was confirmed the next day. The drug in question was EPO, the substance most associated with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2017)
- Kyle Payne: "Baseball, hometown close to Castillo's heart: Catcher's love of game, Dominican Republic neighborhood intertwined", mlb.com, November 22, 2016.