The story of the Kevin Reese -- the man recently tasked with making sure the Yankees' flush minor leagues produces more Aaron Judge-type stars -- should start with one of the most ridiculous player development tales in franchise history.


In 1997, then-Yankees farm director Mark Newman watched Bernie Castro -- skinny, baby faced -- work out at Eastadio La Normal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Newman could have sworn Castro was the fastest 13-year-old he'd ever seen.

Then Castro told the Yankees he was 17 and had the paperwork to prove it. Weird, Newman thought, considering that in an era when many Latin American players fudged their ages to appear a year or two younger, here was Castro, seemingly claiming he was older.

"Dick Clark looked like he was 40 when he was 70," Newman said. "This kid had the Dick Clark gene."

Still, the Yankees quickly signed him.

Fast-forward to February 2002. Two months after general manager Brian Cashman dealt Castro to the Padres for Reese -- a lefty outfielder whose patient approach, speed and sneaky pop intrigued the Yankees -- Cashman's phone rang.

It was midnight. It was Kevin Towers, then San Diego's GM.

And Towers was flipping out.

Castro, it turned out, was actually a full five years older than he told everyone. The Yankees had no idea, Cashman said. And Towers, at the time, couldn't get Castro back into the country because of the problems that revelation caused.

"(Towers) thought he was getting a 23-year-old guy who's like a (blazing) runner and he was getting a 28-year-old," Cashman said at the General Managers Meetings in November.