Second Base and Third Base
Given the number of players the Pittsburgh Pirates have up the middle, I’m deciding to take a look at players that will probably see time at second base, as well as third base. After all, a handful of these players have experience at both positions.
There are a few guys who could be starting at second base for the Indians. The first is Rodolfo Castro. The infielder got off to an outstanding start to the 2021 season at Double-A, having a 133 wRC+ and .373 wOBA through the end of July. He got promoted to the big leagues and while he showed some serious power potential, he did have his struggles and was sent back down to Altoona. He would go on to have a -44 wRC+ in his next 73 plate appearances, which is very surprising.
Though since being promoted to Triple-A, he’s seemed to have turned things around. It’s a small sample size of just 28 plate appearances, but he already has 8 hits, 3 of which have been home runs, and 2 more doubles. Castro mainly played second base in the majors, so he’ll likely have an upper hand at the job at Triple-A.
But you also can’t rule out Diego Castillo earning the job to start the season. Castillo, who was acquired in the Clay Holmes trade, has done nothing but hit this year. In 430 plate appearances across the two Double-A affiliates (Altoona and Somerset) and Triple-A (Indianapolis), Castillo is batting .278/.357/.489 with a .369 wOBA. He’s had a massive boost in pop, blasting 19 home runs and having a .211 ISO. He more than doubled his home run total from 2015-2019.
Castillo has 65 plate appearances with the Indians this year. So far, he’s batted .286/.431/.531 with a .417 wOBA, and 157 wRC+. He’s drawn more walks than he’s struck out (13/10 BB/K ratio) while showing good power with a .245 ISO and 3 long balls. Castillo could also see time at shortstop as well as third base.
Tucupita Marcano will likely spend a good portion of the 2022 season at Triple-A. The headliner of the Adam Frazier trade was almost unfairly promoted. He skipped High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A to appear in the majors for 25 games and 50 plate appearances for the San Diego Padres.
Marcano had a solid start at Triple-A with the Padres, putting up a .351 wOBA, and 102 wRC+. Not bad for a guy who never played above Low-A. After being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he struggled to get things going, but he’s gotten better as the month has gone on. Marcano has displayed excellent plate discipline, having 51 walks and just 58 strikeouts in 402 plate appearances. Highly praised by experts for his strong ability to make consistent contact and hand-eye coordination, 2022 will be Marcano’s age-22 season. He’s had experience at both middle infield positions and has started to play some outfield. Plus he has more than enough games played at the hot corner to see some innings there as well.
Finally we have Jared Triolo. The right-handed batter made up a strong infield consisting of Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero by manning third base. Throughout 473 plate appearances, Triolo batted .304/.369/.480 with a .371 wOBA, and 128 wRC+. Triolo showed off some solid pop, blasting 15 home runs, running out 29 doubles, and putting up a .176 ISO. While his plate discipline wasn’t that of Juan Soto, he still put up a solid 8.9% walk rate and 19.9% strikeout rate. Plus he swiped 25 bases.
Triolo is projected to be a good defender at the hot corner. However, with Ke’Bryan Hayes, he’ll have to find another position to play full-time in the majors. Luckily for him, he has experience at shortstop and left field (in college). He could likely play both right-side infield positions as well. While Triolo would be completely skipping Double-A and doesn’t have the same talent as either Swaggerty or Mlodzinski, two guys who likely aren’t going to get any playing time at Altoona, he will be entering his age-24 season. Old enough that he should be starting at Triple-A.