Pittsburgh Pirates: Double-A Core Four Off to a Hot Start

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Mar 1, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Rodolfo Castro (90) fields a ground ball by Toronto Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Rodolfo Castro (90) fields a ground ball by Toronto Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Utility man Rodolfo Castro

Some times being called a utility player is not a good thing. At times, someone may be labeled a utility player due to not being able to play any one position at a high enough level to be an every day player. While Castro is the top rated utility prospect that the Pittsburgh Pirates have, it is not due to any defensive shortcomings. In fact, it is due to his ability to play multiple positions, both in the infield and the outfield, at a high level.

This past offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates added the 22-year-old switch-hitter to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Castro also made his MLB debut earlier this season, going 0-for-3 in his lone start.

With the Curve this season Castro has showed why the Pittsburgh Pirates felt the need to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft. In 68 PAs he is hitting for a .311/.382/.508 slash line to go with a 143 wRC+. His ISO is a strong .197 and he’s collected extra base hits at an 11.5% rate.

The most encouraging sign from Castro has been his strikeouts. Throughout his professional career he has struggled with the swing-and-miss. While he has never had a strikeout rate below 21% in his professional career, through his first 68 PAs this season he is striking out at just a 17.6% rate.

As Castro continues to hit well at Double-A, especially if he continues to cut down on his strikeouts, he will move up soon. He could be promoted to Triple-A, or could even find himself back with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Either way, look for Castro to find his way back to the active MLB roster before the end of the season.

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