Blue Jays To Select Max Castillo, Outright Bowden Francis

The Blue Jays are going to select the contract of right-hander Max Castillo, per Alfonso E. Saer Gomez. The Blue Jays have an open spot on their 40-man roster, due to the outright of right-hander Bowden Francis, per his transactions tracker at A corresponding move on the active roster has not been announced.

An international signing of the Blue Jays out of Venezuela, Castillo made his professional debut in his age-17 season in 2016. Since then, he’s worked his way up the minor league ladder, working primarily as a starting pitcher. This year, between Double-A and Triple-A, he’s thrown 56 1/3 innings with a 1.92 ERA, 28.8% strikeout rate and 10.8% walk rate. There’s certainly some good fortune in there, as Castillo has a .203 BABIP and 89.8% strand rate on the year. Nonetheless, he’s showed enough to earn a spot on the club’s roster.

It’s not clear what role Castillo, 23, will play for the Jays, though the pitching staff has taken a hit in recent days with the Tommy John surgery of Hyun Jin Ryu. That has bumped Ross Stripling from a long relief role and into a primary rotation slot. Castillo could potentially head to the bullpen and attempt to take over the job of the long man out of the bullpen.

As for Francis, 26, acquired in the Rowdy Tellez trade, he was selected to the club’s 40-man roster in the fall, ahead of the Rule 5 draft that ended up getting canceled by the lockout. He made his MLB debut earlier this year, tossing two-thirds of an inning, but has spent most of his time in Triple-A. In 41 2/3 innings for Buffalo, he has an unfortunate 7.78 ERA. After regularly running strikeout rates of 23% or above in previous years, it’s slipped to 18.8% this year. His 11.7% walk rate is also a personal worst. There was no previous reporting of the team designating him for assignment, but he’s evidently cleared waivers and will now stay in the organization without occupying a roster spot.

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