Jason Castro was drafted 10th overall by the Astros in the 2008 draft. The junior from Stanford led his team to the College World Series semifinals against Georgia last season before beginning his professional career with the Astros. Castro hit .275 in 39 games with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the short-season New York-Penn League.
After hitting well in spring training, Castro jumped a level and started off in the hitter's haven that is Lancaster, which is in High A's California League. Castro originally shared catching duties with the JetHawks alongside Koby Clemens. I originally thought that they had more of an even split between DH and catching duties. However, with Castro's hitting profile, I specifically looked at how well he hit behind the plate and as the designated hitter. From the box scores I've been following, I expected that he'd been at DH too much and, with Clemens moving on to Corpus, that his return behind the dish would lead to an increase in productivity. Turns out I was wrong.
Castro had only been at DH in three games this season. All his extra-base hits came when he was catching and his average as a DH is .167. The real telling split was with his home and road numbers.
At home, Castro is batting .354 in 11 games with two home runs, one triple and three doubles. On the road? .179 with a home run and two doubles. He also has struck out a ton, but over the past eight games, he's only whiffed three times. The other very interesting split in his stats was his vs. Lefty numbes. Castro bats from the left side and throws from the right. Against lefties this season, he's batting .318 in 22 at-bats.
Does that really tell us much, though? There's not really enough of a data set to make huge conclusions on, but he's had a pretty good month at home in one of the best hitter's parks in the minors. The more interesting data comes on his hit chart.
As a lefty, you expect him to hit more balls to the right side of the field (much as we saw with Collin DeLome). With Castro though, we see that he's much more adept at using the whole field for his hard hit balls. He's got good numbers to center and to left on both ground balls and line drives, but it's his fly balls that really stand out. 21 of his 28 fly balls have gone to left or center field. He's hitting for a much higher average to right (5 for 7 with three home runs and two doubles), but he's still using the whole field, which is the mark of an advanced hitter.
The biggest concern? His line drive percentage is sitting at 9%. Over a couple weeks, that's not worrisome, but with nearly a month's worth of data, it shows he's getting hits, but he's not hitting the ball well. He's also not getting anything through the right side of the infield. While DeLome hits a ton of ground balls to the right side, he is still hitting around .400 on those plays. Castro has hit 15 ground balls to the right side and only gotten one single to show for it. I'll explain this by his lack of speed compared to DeLome, but that doesn't account for all of it. DeLome isn't fast enough to turn something out of nothing in the infield. No, what I'm guessing is that DeLome hits the ball with enough authority that he can find the gaps in the defense along the foul line or in the right-side hole. Castro, while he's hitting .289 overall, is just not swinging the bat well.
I'm going to list the data I'm basing this analysis off of. I gathered all this by sifting through all of his box scores. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!
|GB - Left||4||3||1||0.250||1||0||0||0|
|GB - Center||5||2||3||0.600||3||0||0||0|
|GB - Right||15||14||1||0.067||1||0||0||0|
|LD - Left||1||1||0||0.000||0||0||0||0|
|LD - Center||2||0||2||1.000||2||0||0||0|
|LD - Right||4||1||3||0.750||3||0||0||0|
|FB - Left||10||9||1||0.100||1||0||0||0|
|FB - Center||11||5||6||0.545||2||3||1||0|
|FB - Right||7||2||5||0.714||0||2||0||3|
|at DH||12||2||2||1||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0.167||0.286||0.167||0.452 |