I mean, who doesn’t like an ole tried and true Clinton callback? Age me! I mean seriously, I must be getting too old, the whole devil-worshiping crisis actors controlled by the deep state while getting free pizza from Soros while getting shot in schools eating way too many of Michelle’s veggie’s stuff is just too hard to follow for me, so it’s always nice to think of the simpler times. And boy do we need those simpler times right about now as the newest and hopefully less-COVID filled 2021 season aims to begin, along with all the festivities, both real and fantasy, that come with it. So staying in spirit of what my little content corner provided in 2020, I’d like to start covering value players that can either be targeted in your drafts now, or even maybe some fringe value depending on the size of your leagues. With this first post, we’ll be taking a look at the middle infield position. In describing the meta of what the MI is right now, I’d say there’s quite the juxtaposition going on, and if you didn’t like the deployment of all these 5+ multisyllabic words, I guess what I’m trying to say is, you could make solid arguments that the middle infield is empty, or that there is plenty of talent to aim for. Or maybe I’m the only one and confused at what or who I want? Why not all three? One thing is for certain though, if you’re looking for a Willi, just like your mom, we want it slick! (This took me about 23 minutes to think of, so I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.)
Acquired by the Tigers back in 2018 for Leonys Martin (and Kyle Dowdy), Willi Castro never held that “blue-chip” label as a prospect and Cleveland may have not correctly evaluated him as well. With a debut in 2019, Castro provided below average ratios as you can see above, but just in 30 games. The following year though, improvements could be seen with strong production in those same metrics, though only in hyst another 30 games (36 total).
At this point, I think it’s okay for you to be yelling at your monitor with validating statements like: “Small Sample Size!” or “But his minor league stats have no wow!”. I am willing to accept those very cogent points, even the one that sounds like Doge is asking, but would point out that his minor league numbers are actually a bit underrated. Before arriving in the major leagues in 2019, Castro batted a triple slash (301/366/467 with 11 HR and 17 SB in Triple-A) right in line with what we’d expect from his 30-game skillset, and that’s a player average contact but above-average power, relative to the position. While his on-base percentage remains okay, there are valid concerns with his high 27.1% strikeout rate and low 5.0% walk rate for the total of his major league at-bats. The strikeouts will be high, or could be high, but they still might not dampen his overall output.
And what I’ve described may not sound special, especially when you consider the 30-game litmus we’re restrained by, both in analyzing his past ability and future projections, but keep in mind this determining factor. The Tigers will have plenty plate appearances available to Castro, and the way I feel the middle infielder position is shaking out thus far, I’m pretty willing to aim for someone like Willi Castro. While mediocrity isn’t really something we want to buy into, meh at 30 games and meh at 140 games is actually a huge game changer in your counting stats if this bet pays off. And that’s the beauty about players like Castro, the buy-in is low, and so if you land a few of these players, one can hope that one sticks and plays above their level. It just so happens that Castro doesn’t even need that to help you this year. He just needs about 110 more games to play, and Detroit is only happy to oblige.
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.