Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Team’s Lineup by the End of 2022

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 08: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a solo home run in the sixth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 8, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 3-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 08: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a solo home run in the sixth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 8, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 3-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Shortstop – Diego Castillo

Acquired as one of the two players in the Clay Holmes tradeDiego Castillo is having a breakout year at Double-A. Before heading to the Pirates, he was hitting .277/.345/.500 with a .367 wOBA, and 128 wRC+. Castillo was putting up career-best power numbers, blasting 11 long balls in 249 plate appearances. He only hit 8 from 2015 up through 2019. His big power breakout is reflected in his .227 ISO. Castillo walked at a solid 8.4% rate, but only went down on strike three in 13.7% of his plate appearances.

Since arriving at the Pirates, he’s continued to hit similar to when he was with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. Castillo has a .852 OPS, compared to .850 at Double-A Sommerset. His power has stayed relatively similar with a .490 slugging percentage and .215 ISO, though he has walked more (12.1%) and has struck out less (5.2%).

Castillo’s ability to avoid strikeouts has always been one of his biggest strengths. But part of his breakout was due to his 23% line drive rate and career-low 36.9% ground ball rate. Since arriving at the Pirates, he’s still hitting line drives at a 20% rate and avoiding ground balls (28.6%). Though despite that, he has a BABIP of .235. Sure, it’s a small sample size of 43 plate appearances, but still very unlucky. Plus he has walked 5 times and has 3 strikeouts.

Castillo is 23 and will turn 24 in October. Given his age and how well he’s done at Double-A, he should get a good look in the major leagues in 2022. If his power output isn’t a complete fluke, he could become a long-term piece of the Pirate roster.

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