This is another installment in our series grading the individual performances of the key members of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Each player will receive a classic grade on the scale of A through F, based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. Check out our other previous installments in the related section below. Today, I’ll be reviewing Jason Castro’s season.
After a 2018 in which he played only 19 games due to a knee issue, Jason Castro had a very good bounce-back season. In that 2018, though, Mitch Garver and Willians Astudillo emerged from the minor leagues to do a pretty good job. Because of his impressive 2018, Garver made the Opening Day roster as Castro’s backup. Castro was outplayed in the first month, though, and Garver got the starting job for the most part.
In 79 games, the Twins were 45-34 with Castro. Offensively, he was below average. He hit .232/.332/.435 (.767) with 13 homers and 30 RBIs. His on-base percentage was worse than Kyle Gibson’s. Jorge Polanco had more than 3 times as many hits as Castro.
Here is where Castro ranks among his teammates in some key hitting stats (among hitters with over 150 ABs):
- 10th in homers
- 11th in RBIs
- T-12th in hits
- 15th and last in batting average
- 12th in OPS
So his stats show that he was about roughly the 11th-13th best hitter on the team. Not good at all.
Castro’s defense was much worse this season than in recent years. Sure, his pitch framing was above average, but he was atrocious at blocking wild pitches. Many of these were called wild pitches, but many of the ones that got past Castro were more on him than on the pitcher. His pop time was also below average.
In April, he was pretty bad at the plate, which was part of the reason that Garver was promoted. He had a bounce-back May, though, with a 1.024 OPS, 5 bombas, and 13 RBIs. After that, though, he had a June much like his April. Altogether before the break, he hit .257/.331/.529 (.860) with 10 homers and 24 RBIs, which is quite good for a catcher.
He declined significantly after the break, though. He hit .196/.333/.299 with 3 homers and 6 RBIs (yep, you read that right) after the break. Willians Astudillo had more RBIs than that in his second half, despite not playing at all in July or August. This shows how, like Martin Pérez, that his season was indeed a tale of two halves.
He is a pending free agent at the end of the season, and if nobody signs him as a starter, the Twins probably should probably re-sign him to back up Garver because the team has shown that they want to give him rest.
Based off of his first half alone, I would have given him around a B+, but add in his second half, which alone I would have graded an F. So I will put him right in the middle and give him a C.
Overall Grade: C-
What grade would you give Jason Castro’s 2019 season?
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