Clock is Ticking on Welington Castillo’s Long-Term Impact for Chicago Cubs
Castillo showed above average power in the minor leagues, so his 2013 season was a bit of a disappointment as he finished the year with just eight home runs. What Castillo did do well was hit .274 with a .349 on-base percentage while playing solid defense behind the plate. With five home runs already in 2014, one may think it’s safe to assume that Castillo is putting it all together as a complete player, but that is not exactly the case.
While Castillo is hitting for more power, raising his ISO from a below average .124 last season up to an above average .178 in 2014, he is doing this at the expense of his batting average as his strikeout rate has climbed from 22.7 percent to 25.5 percent, lowering his average to .240 so far this season. To make matters worse, Castillo is also walking just over half as much as last year with a 4.3 percent walk rate.
Despite developing power and increased experience, Castillo has actually gone from an above average offensive catcher in 2013 (106 wRC+) to a below average offensive catcher this year (94 wRC+).
In Castillo’s first two seasons he averaged a walk rate above eight percent, so this rate should climb towards the mean as the season progresses. His strikeout rate may remain in the same area, but this is a worthy trade off if Castillo can hit 15-20 home runs in a full season.
While he has not yet put it all together, Castillo has the skill set to be one of the better catchers in the National League. With a reasonable on-base percentage and solid power combined with above average defense, Castillo has the potential be a key part of the Cubs’ future. Whether or not he actually meets that potential is still up for debate.
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