Detroit Tigers hosting a public utility tryout through the end of the season

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 12: Harold Castro #30 of the Detroit Tigers looks on after flying out to Randy Arozarena #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the bottom of the second inning at Comerica Park on September 12, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 12: Harold Castro #30 of the Detroit Tigers looks on after flying out to Randy Arozarena #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the bottom of the second inning at Comerica Park on September 12, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 01: Harold Castro #30 of the Detroit Tigers gets high-fives from teammates in the dugout during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on August 1, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 6-2. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 01: Harold Castro #30 of the Detroit Tigers gets high-fives from teammates in the dugout during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on August 1, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 6-2. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers IF/OF Harold Castro

“Hittin’ Harold” Castro has been a fun story among the Detroit Tigers fanbase. He does seem to have a knack for finding those timely knocks to help the club win. In many ways, he’s an ‘old school’ baseball guy’s dream. He’s a guy that sprays the ball around, puts it in play, can play essentially any defensive position, and he does seem to have that ‘clutch’ factor.

Unfortunately, the ‘clutch’ gene has largely been debunked, his batting average is mostly empty, and while he can move around the diamond, he’s not particularly proficient anywhere, which is largely the value of those bench bats.

The Case for the Detroit Tigers Keeping Harold Castro

Control is on Castro’s side, but he’ll be out of option years after this season, according to MLive. He’ll get the MLB minimum in 2022 before becoming arbitration-eligible in 2023 and will be under team control through his age-31 season. That type of cost-certainty and control (assuming nothing changes with the next CBA) is valuable to an organization that is trying to build a sustainable winner.

Referenced above, Castro also plays basically everywhere, and AJ Hinch does value guys that can move around for him. As we discussed, though, that value decreases as there are more everyday guys on the roster who can move around as necessary.

The Case for the Detroit Tigers Moving On From Harold Castro

As referenced above, although Harold does rack up hits, he’s slugging just .348 and has eight home runs across his 689 career ABs. Those who cannot consistently hit for extra bases are more likely to have good fortune in terms of batting average and may be due for regression, backed up by his low barrel percentage (despite fairly average overall exit velocity metrics).

He also doesn’t walk much–a 3.8% clip across his career, according to Savant. While I do feel that hits are indeed more valuable than walks (runners can take extra bases on hits, etc), walking tends to be more sustainable and the on-base craze has put a premium on walks. His strikeout rate across his career is fine thanks to his innate bat-to-ball skills, but he absolutely has to walk more for his offensive profile to warrant any type of regular role.