Just about everything Rodolfo Castro does on the field makes a lot of noise, not always for a good reason. He was sent back down to the minors after not running out a pop up, his first five hits were home runs, and more recently, had his phone fall out his back pocket sliding into a base.
Amidst the latest slip up, Castro has been really good at the plate. He picked up multiple hits in each of the three games against the San Francisco Giants last week, along with a total of five extra-base hits in the 11 games since returning to Pittsburgh.
The Pirates have cycled through their fair share of second basemen this year, and have some highly rated prospects in the system waiting in the wings for the opportunity.
Castro maybe provides something that any of the others that may be vying for a potential spot on the roster at the position don’t have, at least at his level, and that’s raw power. The immediate options at the major league level — Tucupita Marcano, Kevin Newman and even Diego Castillo certainly don’t with the latter the closest.
For a team that has struggled offensively this season, and sits 18th in the league in home runs, having Castro make the adjustments he has is huge, even more so if he can maintain this.
Ji-Hwan Bae is probably next in line to get an opportunity, and while he has taken great strides with his power, doesn’t nearly match up with Castro, although he may have a much more well rounded game.
Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero are both at Double-A and have played second base this season. Gonzales has been hurt most of the season and both still have work to do on their swing before they pose any threat to the playing time of any of the players listed above.
It’s been a while since Kevin Newman has been a prospect, but his re-emergence for the Pirates has really forced himself back into the team’s picture for next year, or at the very least may have actually created some trade value. Some sort of rotation between Castro, Newman and Marcano/Bae could be a realistic look at how they open up next season if you really want to jump the gun looking at it.
Regardless, Castro has really done a great job at reshifting the perception of him based off really the last two incidents he went through with the Pirates, both negative. In doing so, he’s maybe forcing his way back into the conversation that he slammed the door in his own face earlier in the season.
He’ll have to show he can be consistent with his play, and that includes the mental lapses, but the last week and a half he’s certainly earned to the right to get an actual shot to prove himself again.
Comparing Bae 2021 vs Unfinished 2022
Speaking of Bae, with about a month left in the minor league season, players are starting to reach the same amount of games played, and at-bats they from a year ago.
One example Bae, who played in his second game since returning from an injury. Saturday’s game was his 85th of the season, the same amount he played in 2021. Even better, for comparisons sake at least, he has an identical amount of at-bats as well with 327.
The results? About what you had figured, after finally growing into some power in Altoona last year, he’s taken it up another level in 2022 with Indianapolis. Bae has collected six more hits, five more that went for extra-bases, and is slugging over 30 points higher than he did last year. The stolen bases have remained about the same, he has one more this year than last, and has seen an increase in his batting average by 19 points.
It’s exactly the kind of development you would hope to see out of a young player knocking on the Major League door at Triple-A.
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