I own Starlin Castro in my most important Fantasy Baseball league. Needless to say, I haven’t been pleased with the production, or lack there of, I have been seeing out of him here in 2013.
The high upside, 23-year old shortstop has been slumping in tremendous fashion through the first few months of the season. He’s batting an awful .238 with just three home runs and 22 RBI. Also, his OBP is only at .276. His struggles have resulted in him being bumped all the way down to seventh in the lineup at times, and many believe that Castro should either be benched or sent down for a bit just to regain his confidence. He is still young, after all, so perhaps a demotion is the best thing for Castro.
Let’s take a look at some of his numbers, via FanGraphs. Almost every category seems to be down this season. He has struck out 47 times in 267 at-bats, resulting in a strikeout percentage of 17.1, the highest of his career. His bat speed is down (4.4) and he isn’t driving the ball the same way he did a season ago (.280 BABIP). It seems like the more he struggles, the less patient he becomes at the plate. Plate discipline is something I put a lot of stock into, so let’s take a look, shall we? He hasn’t been taking the first pitch nearly as much as in previous seasons, which means less pitches. He is also swinging at the least amount of percentage of pitches that land inside the strike zone (63.5%) since his rookie campaign in 2010. Castro’s contact rate is also down significantly. Seeing a pattern here? Everything is down or worse.
Is this just simply an unfortunate slump from a top fantasy shortstop? Or was last season’s breakout campaign just a mirage? Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a very, very talented shortstop. However, perhaps he isn’t the hitter we saw from him over the previous seasons. Still, he is young and hasn’t reached anywhere close to his ceiling, and considering the dearth of viable fantasy shortstops, perhaps Castro will make for a terrific buy low candidate.
One thing is for sure. He can’t get much worse than he is right now.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.