by Ray Kuhn
Last season not only did Starlin Castro change positions, but it was a tale of two halves for the now second baseman. This off-season Castro changed teams as he was traded from the Cubs to the Yankees. So what should we expect from him in 2016?
It seems like Castro has been around forever, after all he is entering his seventh season, but he will be just 26 on Opening Day. After coming on strong earlier in his career his star has begun to diminish, but is that really fair? With 991 career hits entering this season he will easily surpass the 1,000 hit mark in 2016 and has a solid .281 average, but that doesn’t mean the infielder is without issue. After all the Cubs traded him for Adam Warren largely just to get him off the roster and make room for Ben Zobrist.
By acknowledging that 2013 was hiss one bad season (.245/10 HR/44 RBI in 161 games), we are taking into account that we need to adjust the expectations we had for him following his debut in 2010. He burst onto the scene as a 20-year old hitting .300 with 3 HR, 41 RBI and 10 SB. The following season he hit .307 with 10 HR, 66 RBI and 22 SB as an encore. After stealing 25 bases in 2012 and looking like he would emerge as a speed threat, he has stolen a combined 18 bases in the three subsequent seasons.
Then came 2013 where Castro regressed hitting just .245 with a .290 BABIP (substantially lower than his career mark of .321). While I wouldn’t expect to see him hitting .300 ever again, there is certainly value in a solid .280 moving forward.
The problem though, is there is nothing else about Castro that stands out. He isn’t going to hit more than 10-15 home runs in a season, but coupled with 70-75 RBI it puts him on your radar in just about all formats as a solid middle infielder.
It is unclear where he will bat in the lineup for the Yankees, but I wouldn’t expect it to be towards the top. Perhaps more importantly, the urge to overrate Castro’s performance after moving to second base, as he hit .353 but benefited from a .388 BABIP in September.
Castro’s power is average at best and his speed has is now really just average after being elite per Baseball HQ’s standards – hence the decrease in stolen bases. If you haven’t caught on to the theme yet, Castro really is just an average player. Yes there is some potential, but don’t draft him expecting that upside as it will likely lead to disappointment.
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