Starlin Castro was one of three pieces the Miami Marlins got in trade for the New York Yankees during last season’s Winter Meetings.
A lot of the Miami Marlins fanbase have taken that trade as evidence that the new ownership group doesn’t know what they’re doing. In the meantime, Starlin Castro put up a 3.4 offensive WAR and a 0.3 on the defensive side. Stack that up against Giancarlo Stanton‘s 2018 figures of 3.4 and -0.4 defensively, and it’s not really that cut and dry. Add to that, they got Stanton’s albatross contract off the books, and also netted two prospects now in the Marlins top 10.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 165 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Meanwhile, Castro did what he always does. Get a bunch of hits, play over 150 games, collect something between 10 and 15 home runs, provide solid if unspectacular defense, and finish the season right around .280. He truly produced just as advertised.
Starlin DeJesus Castro is a 6’2″, 230 lb. second baseman from Monte Christi, Dominican Republic. He’s the 11th major league player from the town, including Ozzie Virgil, Tony Pena, and Felix Rodriguez. Castro signed with the Chicago Cubs through free agency on October 25th, 2006.
Four years later, Castro made his major league debut, and played his way onto three all-star teams in six seasons starting at shortstop for the Cubbies. He led the National League in 2011 with 207 hits. Castro eventually played in 891 contests, which ranks 44th all-time on the Cubs leaderboard. For context, that would rank seventh on the Miami Marlins leaderboard. Incidentally, he’s number 105 in Marlins history as of now. Castro concluded his Cubs career with a .281/.321/.404 slashline.
During the 2015 Winter Meetings, the Cubs traded Castro to the New York Yankees for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. The Yankees preferred Castro at second base, and he came through for them in relative terms. After a career fielding percentage of .963 at shortstop, he has been a .977 fielder at the four hole. In two seasons as a Bronx Bomber, Castro hit .283/.317/.442, hitting a career-high 21 homers in 2016 and making his first American League All-Star team in 2017.
Castro led the Marlins in 2018 with 47 multi-hit games, including nine contests where he collected three or more. He also led the team with 593 at bats, 165 hits, a .278 average, 237 total bases, and ranked second with 154 games played, 647 plate appearances, 76 runs scored, and 32 doubles. His 12 homers and 54 RBI placed fourth on the team. His cumulative brWAR of 3.7 ranked third.
Castro slashed .278/.329/.400, just a shade off his pre-Marlins career line of .282/.320/.413. That 13 points lower slugging percentage can be directly attributed to the pitcher-friendly park in which Castro spent half of his playing time. His road split was .280/.315/.420.
Defensively, Castro started 149 times at second base and came into one game as a defensive replacement. He put up a .981 fielding percentage, making 12 errors and turning 77 double plays over 1,792 total chances. Both his total zone fielding and his defensive runs saved turned out to be precisely zero despite the large sample size, and his range factor was very close to the NL average as well. In other words, If you were to take the 15 NL starting second basemen and rank them defensively, you’d likely have seven better and seven worse than Castro.
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On August 19th, in a 12-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, Castro went five-for-six with two doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI. Going by WPA, his best game of the season was on August 28th in a rip-roaring, back-and-forth, 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Castro batted fourth in that game, and led off the fourth with a triple, later getting stranded by weak plate appearances. Later, trailing 4-3 in the eighth inning with nobody out, he followed a J.T. Realmuto two-run jack with one of his own to tie the score. He drew a walk in the ninth before getting lifted for pinch-runner Yadiel Rivera, who tied the score at seven.
The Marlins have Castro under ink for just the 2019 season at $11,857,143, which is $1m more than he made last season. Miami also owns a $16m club option for 2020, which they will not exercise. They will probably trade Castro to a desperate club in late-July, to someone who’s looking for a guy to hit .280 and play extremely competent and not-at-all-special second base.
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