Pittsburgh Pirates: Diego Castillo Needs to Play Every Day


Infielder Diego Castillo continues to do nothing but hit and he should be starting every day for the Pittsburgh Pirates

While the Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to finish below .500 for a fourth consecutive season in 2022 there are still things for fans to look forward to. The biggest thing Pirate fans have to look forward to is watching young talent earn playing time and develop.

One of the most exciting young hitters the Pittsburgh Pirates have that appears ready for a big MLB role is infielder Diego Castillo. The 24-year-old Castillo was acquired in the Clay Holmes trade last spring and has done nothing since then but hit.

In 191 plate appearances between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis last August/September the right-handed hitting Castillo hit for a .280/.368/.463 slash line to go with a 125 wRC+. Castillo drew walks at a 12.0% rate and struck out in just 11.5% of his trips to the plate.

One of the things that powered Castillo’s success, in addition to a high contact rate, was keeping the ball in the air and avoiding ground balls. That carried into the spring when Castillo led the Pirates with 6 Grapefruit League home runs.

With the Pirates having a huge hole at second base it appeared Castillo may have hit his way to a starting job this spring. Unfortunately, that was not the case as he made just one start in their season opening series against the Cardinals.

Castillo did, however, record 9 plate appearances in the series due to replacing Ke’Bryan Hayes in game one and pinch hitting in game two. After going 0-for-3 on Opening Day, Castillo was 4-for-6 with a double across the final two games of the series.

With Castillo continuing to hit there is no reason for him to not start every day. In fact, manager Derek Shelton needs to be starting Castillo every day. Anything short of that is a disservice to both Castillo and the Pirates.

Getting Castillo into the every day lineup would not be a challenge, either. First and foremost, the Pirates do not have a starting second baseman and that job should go to Castillo. Until he loses it the second base job should be Castillo’s.

In addition to second base, Castillo can play all over the infield. He can start at third base if Hayes needs a day off, he can make starts at shortstop where Kevin Newman doesn’t exactly have a stranglehold on the position, and starts at designated hitter are always an option as well. It does not matter how it is done, but Castillo needs to be starting every single day for the Pirates.

Next. Move to Bullpen Benefitting Wil Crowe. dark

There is a legitimate chance that Castillo could prove to be a building block piece for the Pittsburgh Pirates moving forward. His minor league track record is that of a player who is a great pure hitter. As his professional career has progressed Castillo continues to improve as a hitter and he has become one of the best pure hitters in the Pirate organization. Now it is time for him to be playing every day.