Season review: Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro was one of four players to play in all 162 games in 2012. Adam Jones doing it is not all that surprising. He's relatively young. Ichiroi is a bit surprising considering his age and poor performance while in Seattle. Even more surprising is Prince Fielder. Despite playing in 4 more games this season, Castro had 24 fewer plate appearances than last year.

By the end of April Castro was hitting .333/.351/.433. We're used to seeing Castro bat over .300 and while his ISO was only .100, he was off to a fantastic start. Like Alfonso Soriano, Castro also didn't hit any home runs in April. Below are Castro's 2012 projections.

Projection PA H HR BB SO avg obp slg wOBA
CAIRO 631 168 9 42 87 .287 .340 .412 .332
Guru 628 166 6 39 83 .287 .333 .409 .326
ZiPS 673 191 9 39 85 .301 .343 .432 .339
PECOTA 695 197 8 33 95 .298 .332 .410 .325
Oliver 658 185 6 33 79 .304 .340 .420 .333
Bill James 669 197 8 38 82 .312 .354 .441 .347
RotoChamp 665 191 9 37 86 .304 .346 .430 .339
Dav-Marcel 684 184 7 37 87 .284 .327 .396 .316
Steamer 677 187 9 40 83 .299 .342 .433 .350
Average 664 185 8 38 85 .297 .340 .420 .334

Castro finished the season batting .283/.323/.430. His wOBA was a career low .323, but his wRC+ of 99 matched his rookie season. He's shown some signs of growth at the plate. His ISO has gone from .108 to .125 up to .147 in 2012. He had the same number of extra base hits (55) as he did in 2011, but he hit more home runs and triples than he ever had.

On the other hand, his walk rate was only 5.2%, which I guess is a slight improvement over the 4.9% in 2011, but below the 5.7% in his rookie season. His career average is only 5.2%. Despite hitting for more power, Castro didn't take any additional walks. He struckout in 14.5% of his plate appearances and reached the magical 100 strikeouts for the first time in his career.

His defensive ratings were improved, but one season doesn't tell us whether or not he's actually improved defensively. Those metrics ranged from -2 (Total Zone) to 3 (DRS). UZR had him at -1 and FRAA at -0.5.

Castro has multiple areas he should be working on, but one easy way to improve is to just stop trying to steal bases. He's terrible at it. He was caught stealing a league leading 13 times and successfully stole just 25 bases. In his young career Castro has 57 stolen bases against 30 times caught stealing. 4 of those times were when he was picked off and was classified as a picked off caught stealing. Only B.J. Upton and Ryan Roberts had more (5). An additional 3 times he was just flat picked off. If you're going to make that many outs on the bases, you better be stealing a lot more bases than Castro does. He just doesn't read the pitcher very well when he's on base and should consider limiting his stolen base attempts. When you add in his SB/CS to his UBR, he's been -2.3 in his career. It doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, but you've got fo fight for every run and this would be a relatively easy way to add it. Easier than trying to steal bases when you aren't any good at it.

It wasn't too surprising to see Castro's BABIP drop from about .345 the first two seasons to .315 this past year. What was nice about it is that Castro still produced at a respectable level at the plate and an above average level considering the position he plays.

Castro was projected to be a 3.1 WAR player this year. His fWAR was 3.3, rWAR 3.5 and WARP 3.0.