Starlin Castro had a tremendous rookie season in 2010. While most 20 year olds would be manhandled by big league pitching, Castro showed the poise of a seasoned veteran. In just over 500 at-bats, he batted .300 with 53 R, 4 HR, 41 RBI and 10 SB. With a year of big league experience under his belt, can we expect Castro to make the leap into the upper echelon of fantasy shortstops?
I doubt it.
Now, while I’m usually one to target young players who have had some early success in hope that they reach fantasy stardom, Castro is not someone I expect to make the leap.
The main reason is that Castro doesn’t possess an elite skill set in multiple fantasy categories; he is not someone who projects to have power. In 329 career games split between the minor and major leagues Castro has 10 career home runs. That averages out to roughly five home runs per 162 game season.
In 2010, Castro hit mostly ground balls as his GB% was 51.3 percent. He also had a minuscule HR/FB rate of 2.6 percent. As you can see, Castro has not shown any signs that power is on the way.
The lack of power wouldn’t be an obstacle to becoming a top fantasy shortstop if Castro possessed elite base-stealing ability, however he has only shown some base stealing prowess. In Castro’s three seasons in professional ball, his highest stolen base total was 28. That’s good, but not great. And remember, he only stole 10 bases at the major league level last year.
What you will get from Castro is the ability to hit for a high average. He hit well consistently in the minor leagues and his .300 batting average last year is supported by a good LD% and a sustainable BABIP.
Castro should also score a lot more runs in 2011. He should bat near the top of the Cubs lineup for the entire year and will have the newly acquired Carlos Pena hitting in the middle of the lineup. And if his walk rate improves, which it should as he matures, he could be in line for 80-plus runs.
2011 Fantasy Outlook
Castro is yet another example of a player who is much better in real life than he is in fantasy. If fielding were taken into account in fantasy, then Castro would assuredly be one of the top shortstops, but unfortunately that is not the case. What we have is a solid all-around shortstop that will score some runs and have a high batting average.
However, his base stealing ability won’t be great and his HR and RBI potential are poor, thus making it unlikely that Castro will make the leap to fantasy stardom in 2011.
.308 BA | 78 R | 6 HR | 58 RBI | 18 SB