Pittsburgh Pirates: Rodolfo Castro’s Potential Long-Term Role

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 05: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during a spring training game at Phillies Spring Training Ball Park on March 05, 2021 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 05: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during a spring training game at Phillies Spring Training Ball Park on March 05, 2021 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates’ infield prospect Rodolfo Castro could be part of the Pittsburgh Pirates long term bench.

Pittsburgh Pirates infield prospect Rodolfo Castro has had a solid Spring Training thus far. He’s had three hits, all of which have gone for extra bases. While he has struck out seven times with no walks, Castro’s been fun to watch in Grapefruit League action, especially with his little league home run against the Toronto Blue Jays a few days ago.

Castro is entering his age-22 season. To this point in his career the highest level he has reached is High-A and he is seen as one of the Pirates’ top 35 prospects FanGraphs coming in at 34. So what could be his long term future with the team?

The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates saw Castro get regular playing time was in 2019. He split the season with Low-A Greensboro and High-A Bradenton, stepping to the plate 461 times. All told, he hit .242/.298/.456 with 19 home runs and 26 doubles with a .324 wOBA and showed good power with a .214 isolated slugging percentage.

Castro did much better at Low-A, though. With Greensboro, he put up a .242/.306/.516 line with a .363 wOBA and 131 wRC+. Then when he was promoted to Bradenton, he only hit .243/.288/.361 with a .310 wOBA and 99 wRC+.

Castro didn’t have great plate discipline. He only drew a walk 6.7% of the time while striking out at a 26.5% of the time. This has led to a future hit grade of just 40. In terms of power, however, he has some pop in his bat. The infielder had an average exit velocity of 89 MPH and maxed out at 104 MPH. He also made hard contact 43% of the time. His game power is seen as a potential 50-future grade tool while his raw power has a 55-future grade.

He can also run pretty well. Currently, he has a 55-run grade and while he only has a 50-future run grade, getting a player with average to above average power and speed will always be welcomed. It also helps that he’s an average fielder at multiple positions. His glove is seen as a 50-future grade tool. He’s seen most of his innings at second base, but has just under 1000 innings played at shortstop and over 200 innings at the hot corner.

Castro will likely start the season at the alternate training site for the Pittsburgh Pirates, before likely reporting to Double-A Altoona when the minor league season begins. If things go well, Castro could quickly find himself with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Given Castro’s versatility and athleticism, he could make for a very solid utility man. In the long run, the Pirates’ long term answer at second base, shortstop and third base will be Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

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But Castro could definitely be the guy to keep the seat warm until Gonzales is in the Major Leagues. Once Gonzales makes it to the Majors, Castro could move to a utility man role. He could see time all over the infield, including first base, and maybe even some left field to expand his versatility. Not only would this give the Pittsburgh Pirates a super utility option on the bench who can fill in anywhere on the field, but also a bench bat with some real power.

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