2013 Cubs Projections: Welington Castillo


welington-castilloI know I said I probably wasn't going to do these this year, but I am going to change the format a little bit. I won't be combining 5, 6 or 7 projections to create an average. I will just stick to two: CAIRO and ZiPS. I doubt the average between these two will be that much different than they'd be if we added in several other other projection systems so it's really  just a waste of time to include them all.

I intended to do these at each position only, but when I finished up Welington Castillo's projections, I realized it would be too long for one post. So we'll do them one at a time again.

The Cubs have a new primary catcher this season in Welington Castillo. The backup job will be determined in spring training and is between Steve Clevenger and Dioner Navarro. Navarro has to have the edge at this point seeing as his contract was guaranteed and they'll unlikely carry three catchers on the active roster.

A few years ago I was very excited about Castillo's future. He reached AA at the age of 21 back in 2008 and for a catcher, that's pretty good. He hit the bell very well that year in AA though he didn't perform that well at the plate in High A that same year. Still, I was excited that the Cubs a young catcher who had shown the ability to hit well at an advanced level for someone his age and position. The Cubs were set with Geovany Soto for the time being, but he'd be getting expensive before long and there was Castillo to take his place.

Back at AA in 2009, he regressed. He didn't hit well and there were reports that he was having difficulty behind the plate. He was till quite young, but I was hoping to see him build on his strong finish in 2008. He did get promoted to AAA in 2009 and hit quite well, but I've learned to be a little distrustful of stats in the Pacific Coast League.

He reached the big leagues for a few plate appearances in both 2010 and 2011, but the first meaningful playing time was last year and he took advantage of it. He hit .265/.337/.418, which was good for a .327 wOBA. That's a 101 wRC+. He was also slightly above average in fielding on both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference, but Baseball Prospectus had him slightly below average.

Overall, in 190 plate appearances he was worth 1.2 fWAR, 1.2 rWAR and 0.5 WARP. His walk rate was a respectable 8.9%, but he did strikeout more than 26% of the time. He was also a bit lucky last season with his .348 BABIP.

I know a lot of people are very excited about Castillo, but I'm mostly curious to see which Welington Castillo shows up. At times he's been very good and at other times very bad. If he can handle the pitching staff and play well enough defensively, he probably has the bat to play the position even if he's not much of a hitter.

Below are Welington Castillo's 2013 projections.

Castillo PA H 2B 3B HR SB avg obp slg wOBA
CAIRO 364 83 17 0 14 1 .249 .316 .430 .326
ZiPS 375 81 17 0 12 0 .240 .309 .398 .307
Average 370 82 17 0 13 0 .245 .313 .414 .316

I used his CAIRO projections and a spreadsheet SG from RLWY sent me awhile back to get Castillo's percentile forecasts.

Welington Castillo
80% 437 397 56 111 25 0 21 65 2 0 41 94 6 7 .278 .364 .503 .379
65% 400 364 47 96 21 0 17 55 2 1 35 92 7 6 .265 .341 .466 .353
Baseline 364 331 40 83 17 0 14 47 1 1 29 88 8 4 .251 .319 .429 .326
35% 328 298 33 71 13 0 11 39 0 1 24 83 8 3 .237 .296 .392 .301
20% 291 265 27 59 10 0 8 32 0 2 19 78 9 2 .223 .273 .355 .275

The 80% forecast is always going to look nice, but it's more of a best case scenario. If Castillo reaches projections, he'll be a valuable player, but won't be an all-star or anything. There's nothing wrong with that. He makes league minimum so any value you get is a bonus.

At a .326 wOBA and 370 plate appearances, he'd be worth 1.9 offensive WAR. Up the PA to 400 and you've got a 2 WAR player. I figure he's more than likely below average at running the bases so if he's only average on defense he'll be worth a little under 2 WAR in 2013.