The Detroit Tigers are running out of options for Willi Castro in more ways than one.
Willi Castro should not have been in the lineup last night.
Austin Meadows was originally in the lineup, but was scratched due to a non-COVID related illness.
Castro was inserted into the lineup and played left field. A.J. Hinch wanted a lefty in there against Houston Astros’ right-handed starter Luis Garcia, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Castro proceeded to misplay a ball with two outs in the second inning. He started going back, but the ball dropped in right in front of him for a hit. The Astros would go on to hit back-to-back home runs that inning, which would prove to be the difference in the Tigers’ 3-2 loss.
Should the loss fall solely on Castro’s shoulders? No, the offense once against couldn’t muster up anything. Three runs allowed should not be too difficult to overcome.
But I think most Tigers fans would have much rather seen a better defender out there in left field. I personally would have had Akil Baddoo in left and Derek Hill in center. This is part of a larger problem which is the lack of depth on the team, but that’s an entirely different article.
The organization certainly seems to have some faith left in Castro. In some ways, it makes sense. He’s still just 25 years old and has shown some ability to hit at the major league level.
But in other ways, it does not make sense at all. He has been a well-below average defender pretty much everywhere they’ve put him, whether it be the infield or the outfield.
Yet, they remained hellbent last season on not burning his last option. For whatever reason, the team still sees value in keeping him around.
There are far better options right now for the outfield than Willi Castro. Baddoo has been steadily improving his defense, Hill is elite out there, and even Eric Haase, a catcher by trade, would be a better option in left. He’s made some nice plays out there in a small sample size, plus I think he offers more with that bat despite the fact that he’s been struggling.
I don’t know what else to do with Willi. He has the makings of a quality major leaguer, but he hasn’t been able to put it together. If the Tigers want to keep him around for infield depth, that would be fine. But sadly, that may be all he is at this point.