Detroit Tigers: A look at new utility infielder Harold Castro

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KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 27: A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 27, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 27: A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 27, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /
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What can Harold Castro, a longtime Detroit Tigers farmhand who was just called up, bring to the Tigers for the rest of the season?

The Detroit Tigers added another infielder into their mix at the big league level, recalling utility infielder Harold Castro from Triple-A Toledo. Castro, 24, has been in Detroit’s farm system since he was 17 years old back in 2011.

He has steadily climbed up through the minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A for the first time this season. He will now get a chance to log his first major league experience. What does he give the Tigers for the last week plus of the season?

Harold Castro’s Value

Well, the biggest value Castro brings to the Motor City is his defensive versatility. Castro has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his minor league career. Primarily a second baseman, Castro has logged over 500 innings at shortstop, third base and across all three outfield positions as well. At Triple-A this season he started 30 games at third, 20 at shortstop, 11 at second base and four in right field. He has never been regarded as an elite defensive player, but his versatility will give manager Ron Gardenhire some options off the bench.

Offensively, he is somewhat limited. When he first surfaced he was considered a bat-first prospect. In fact, Fangraphs prospect writer Marc Hulet even said that Castro is a more offensively gifted prospect than fellow infielder Hernan Perez. That was after two straight .300+ seasons in rookie ball as a teenager.

Since then, his bat has not developed at the rate the Detroit Tigers were surely hoping it would. He has not topped .300 since. More concerning, he has yet to develop any plate discipline. He has not posted a walk rate above 4.0% since a 20-game stint in Single-A in 2014. While his strikeout numbers are solid (18.7% at AAA) he doesn’t make enough hard contact to justify his ghastly walk totals.

In fact, Castro doesn’t make much hard contact at all. In nearly 700 minor league games, Castro has 11 home runs. His 102 doubles is respectable, but Castro won’t be punishing the baseball at the big league level anytime soon. The left-handed swinging Castro does have some speed, which could make him a nice pinch-runner/defensive replacement down the stretch.

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Ultimately, he is a super utility player who will offer little else other than defensive flexibility. With Jose Iglesias out for the year and Niko Goodrum nursing an injury, Castro will likely fill-in as bench depth with the occasional start while Ronny Rodriguez and Dawel Lugo continue to earn the majority of starts for the last week of the season.

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