Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has Starlin Castro Become More Than A Fantasy Afterthought?

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Starlin Castro has long been a solid, albeit in unspectacular, option for fantasy owners. While there’s always been a hint of potential, especially early in his career when he was stealing bases, since 2012 he’s never really done enough to truly excite you. You could argue that 2019 was a slightly different story, as he too showed a spike in power (much like many around the league):

.270 (172-636), 22 HR, 86 RBI, 68 R, 2 SB

He also shifted to 3B late in the season, adding a bit of flexibility (he’ll be eligible at 2B and 3B entering 2020). Is that enough to put him on radars?

While Castro did show more power, 22 HR isn’t going to catch anyone’s attention when not paired with anything else. It’s not like he’s surrounded by a strong supporting cast, where the counting stats will be prevalent. The owner of a career 9.1% HR/FB, you can argue a 12.5% mark is believable though it also is a bit deceiving.

The “surge” was aided by a spike in September, when he hit 7 HR. In fact through August 21 his HR/FB sat at 8.7%, right in line with his career mark, making the it look that much less maintainable. Just aiding to the concern is playing half his game in Miami, hardly a hitter friendly environment.

Maybe the power surge would become more believable if he’s traded during the offseason, something that the rebuilding Marlins would surely like to achieve. That isn’t a guarantee, and if he’s going to be a 15 HR threat with no speed (he hasn’t reached double digit stolen bases since 2012) he’d need to be a .300+ hitter to hold appeal.

While he wasn’t a swing and miss threat (8.6% SwStr%), he puts the ball on the ground far too much for a player without speed (47.9%) and also is a bit too pull heavy (22.1% Oppo%). Those two things are going to limit his BABIP upside, regardless of how hard he hits the baseball. The groundballs also factors into limiting the power, and he has never shown capable of drawing many walks (5.0% career walk rate).

We’ll have to revisit him if the time comes that he is traded away, but in his current surroundings there is little to get excited about. He’s a short-term plugin when he’s going well, but he’s nothing more than that.

Source – Fangraphs

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