Pinstripe Preview: Starlin Castro
Last offseason, the Yankees acquired Castro from the Cubs for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. Ryan was immediately designated for assignment, and Warren was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman trade about seven months later, so the Yanks essentially got Castro for nothing. At the time of the trade, I was irrationally excited. After having to sit through Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew for the 2014 and 2015 seasons as the primary second basemen, it was exciting to have a player at the keystone who actually could hit.
Castro’s first season in pinstripes was very up and down. He started out fantastically, driving in seven runs in his first two games against the Astros. However, after that excitement, he, along with the entire Yankees team, slowed down. Throughout the rest of the season, Castro had a few good moments, such as this walk off homer against the Rockies on June 22nd…
…but for the most part, Castro’s first season in pinstripes was just alright. Not bad, not great, just pretty good. He ended with a final slash line of .270/.300/.433, with 21 homers and 70 RBIs. His OBP was definitely a problem; Castro walked just 24 times in 610 plate appearances. He’s always been a free swinger, and this year was no different. The guy swings at everything.
I’d like to say that maybe, in this coming season, Castro will have made some adjustments to his approach at the plate, and will become a better overall player. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Sorry for the glass half empty approach, but here’s Castro’s OBP and walk rates ever since he broke into the big leagues:
2010: 506 PA, 29 BB (5.7%), .347 OBP
2011: 715 PA, 35 BB (4.9%), .341 OBP
2012: 691 PA, 36 BB (5.2%), .323 OBP
2013: 705 PA, 30 BB (4.3%), .284 OBP
2014: 569 PA, 35 BB (6.2%), .339 OBP
2015: 578 PA, 21 BB (3.6%), .296 OBP
2016: 610 PA, 24 BB (3.9%), .300 OBP
Castro’s first season with the Yankees was actually his seventh full season in the majors. It’s hard to believe, since he doesn’t turn 27 until March 24th, but he’s been around a while. He’s also never had less than 569 plate appearances in a season, and while this shows just how durable he is, which is a big plus, the fact that he can’t hit the 40 walk plateau is a problem.
Now, does this mean Castro is going to be a total bust in 2017? Of course not. This outlook so far has been pretty dismal, but I like Castro. My point with the lack of walks is that, even though he’s young, he’s not going to get any better. This is who Castro is. However, he’s the type of solid young player the Yankees have needed for a few years now, and with the youth movement in full swing, he fits in perfectly. His power and decent batting average last year are valuable, and I would expect more of the same from him. Just don’t expect a breakout season. If Castro can be the same player he was last year in 2017, he will be valuable to the Yankees.
Article by: Alex WeirFollow @waelierx