Former Red Sox prospect Pedro Castellanos has signed a minor-league contract with the Padres, per the MiLB.com transactions log.
Castellanos, 25, originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015. The Carora native received a modest $5,000 signing bonus and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following June.
After earning Red Sox Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year honors in 2016, Castellanos made the jump to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League (now the Florida Complex League) in 2017. From there, the first baseman/outfielder spent the entirety of the 2018 season in Greenville and the entirety of the 2019 season in Salem, where he was named a Carolina League All-Star.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing Minor League Baseball to cancel its 2020 campaign, Castellanos was unable to make the jump to Double-A until 2021. In 87 games with the Portland Sea Dogs that season, the right-handed hitter batted .289/.364/.471 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs over 87 games as he made starts at all three outfield positions.
Castellanos returned to Portland for the start of the 2022 season but got off to a rough start. Coming into play on May 3, he was hitting just .116 (8-for-69) with one homer and eight RBIs through his first 18 games. From that point forward, though, Castellanos turned a corner offensively and proceeded to slash a stout .345/.360/.561 with 16 doubles, seven home runs, 34 RBIs, and 20 runs scored over his next 43 games (178 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to Triple-A Worcester in late June.
In 60 games with the WooSox, Castellanos forged a .269/.307/.397 slash line to go along with 10 doubles, two triples, five homers, 29 runs driven in, 31 runs scored, one stolen base, seven walks, and 47 strikeouts across 241 trips to the plate. The 6-foot-3, 244-pounder put up those numbers while logging 314 1/3 innings at first base, 129 innings in right field, and seven innings in left field.
While he was never truly regarded as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system (topped out at No. 27 on Baseball America’s rankings in 2019), Castellanos did prove to be a quality hitter — as evidenced by his career .294 batting average — during his seven years as a member of the Red Sox organization.
Castellanos, who does not turn 26 until December, will now look to break in at the big-league level with the Padres. He has technically been assigned to San Diego’s Double-A Affiliate in San Antonio, but it would not be all that surprising if he began the 2023 season at Triple-A El Paso.
In the meantime, Castellanos has been playing winter ball for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. He slashed .289/.344/.436 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 46 regular season games for the Cardenales, who are currently in that league’s playoffs.
(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)