The Chicago Cubs head into the 2013 season with the future of their infield looking very bright. There of the five spots are locked down, potentially for the foreseeable future, and third base has some strong talent coming up through the minors. The true wild card is behind the plate.
Geovany Soto wore out his welcome with the new front office pretty quickly. Inconsistent defense and massive stretches of quietness with the stick will do that to you. That left Welington Castillo, and not much else, to take over in his place.
In his time with the Cubs organization, Castillo has 63 games to his credit at the big league level, 52 of them coming last year. It’s going to take a bit more time for the Cubs to determine just what exactly they have in Castillo.
They know he can hit. He hit .265 in 2012 and posted a solid .337 on-base percentage. He has quite a bit of pop, projecting as a guy who could give you 15-20 homers from behind the dish. If he can keep that average up around .265-.270 and supply that type of power, the Cubs will be elated.
The question for Castillo is his defense, and how he’ll handle the pitching staff. Soto was working with a staff mostly familiar to him. That’s not the case for Castillo, who has to work with a handful of new folks on the staff. How he works with them this year will go a long way towards determining his future.
The good news is that Castillo is skipping the World Baseball Classic to work with his staff and on his defense. That should prove beneficial when the season actually does begin.
Castillo committed seven errors behind the plate last year. That should improve, but he doesn’t look like a guy who is going to throw out too many baserunners. He’s not terrible in that department, though so he could actually end up getting a bit better.
Is Welington Castillo the Cubs’ catcher of the future? That’s the question he’ll have to answer in 2013. His offensive game is just about there. If he can show improvement defensively and work well with a staff, he’s got the job. As of right now, though, he’s still a wild card for this team – that is probably the only time you’ll see the Cubs associated with the term ‘wild card’ this season.