Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Player to Watch at Each Level in 2022

Jul 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro (64) hits an RBI double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro (64) hits an RBI double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro (64) throws to first base to complete a double play against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro (64) throws to first base to complete a double play against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Indianapolis Indians – Infielder Rodolfo Castro

Triple-A Indianapolis has its fair share of talent. There are the obvious names like Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras. But they’re backed by a supporting cast made up of Travis Swaggerty, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Mason Martin, and Ji-Hwan Bae. One of the many notable names at Indianapolis to start out the year is infielder Rodolfo Castro.

Castro has already made his Major League debut. He appeared in 31 games, collecting 93 plate appearances showing off a ton of power potential. He hit five home runs, being the first player to start their career out with five straight home runs. On the downside, he only had six walks and 28 strikeouts.

Castro’s 2021 minor league season was somewhat of a rollercoaster. From the start of the season through July 18th, Castro was hitting .315/.356/.533 with a .386 wOBA and 142 wRC+. However, he was downright awful in the weeks prior to his promotion to Triple-A. From July 20th through September 19th, he hit just .080/.156/.136 with a .144 wOBA and -18 wRC+. For reference, the average wRC+ for pitchers in 2021 was -22. But once he got to Triple-A, he started to turn things around. It was a small sample size of 38 plate appearances, but Castro ended the season on a high note, batting .286/.342/.657 with a .419 wOBA and 158 wRC+.

Castro’s power ability is his best tool. FanGraphs pins his raw power at a 60, though his hit tool only is considered a 35-grade tool. He’s a decent runner but a so-so defender. He has seen time at multiple infield positions, including both middle infield spots and the hot corner. Even if he’s only a .230-.250 hitter, he has the chance to reach double-digit home runs, even in a semi-regular role.

Castro has gotten off to a decent start at Indy once again. In 11 plate appearances, Castro has three hits and a walk. He’s one of the multiple options the Pirates have to keep the seat warm at the keystone until Nick Gonzales is in the major leagues.

Indianapolis Splits Thursday Doubleheader. dark. Next

Even once Gonzales is in the majors, Castro could be a quality bench bat. Power off the bench is always valuable, and Castro could provide that. He’s also athletic enough that the Pirates could move him around the field if they want and see time in left field and first base.

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