Pittsburgh Pirates: It’s Time for Diego Castillo’s Opportunity

Apr 18, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Diego Castillo (64) celebrates after hitting a home run during the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Diego Castillo (64) celebrates after hitting a home run during the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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With shortstop Kevin Newman set to miss 3-5 weeks with a groin injury Diego Castillo needs to be playing every day for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s game the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that shortstop Kevin Newman will miss 3-5 weeks. A left groin injury is what will cause Newman to land on the injured list. This injury will also create an opportunity in the Pirate middle infield.

With Newman set to miss an extended period of time the Pittsburgh Pirates must now figure out the shortstop position. While the obvious choice would be to turn to top prospect Oneil Cruz it appears that will not happen. Well, at least not yet.

If Cruz is not the answer then there is another player who should benefit form this opportunity. This player is 24-year-old right-handed hitter Diego Castillo. Especially since Castillo should already be getting regular at-bats for the Pirates.

Castillo came to the Pirate organization as part of the Clay Holmes trade last summer and did nothing but hit. In 191 plate appearances between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, Castillo hit for a 2.80/.368/.463 slash line to go with a 125 wRC+.

Entering spring training there was a belief Castillo could hit his way onto the Opening Day roster. After leading the team in home runs in Grapefruit League play with 6 Castillo did just that, heading north with the Pirates.

So far in the regular season Castillo has hit for just a .250/.283/.341 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 83. These results have come in 46 plate appearances. While he has yet ot duplicate his spring training success he also has not had regular at-bats yet. Now, it is time for that to change.

With Newman set to miss an extended period of time there is no reason for Castillo not to play every day. First and foremost, Castillo can play shortstop. The easy decision would appear to be to put Castillo at shortstop until Newman returns.

Even if Tucupita Marcano, or Cole Tucker when he returns from the CVOID-19 IL, is at shortstop, there is still opportunity for Castillo, This would seemingly open the door for Castillo to play at second base.

Castillo has also been dabbling some in right field this season. While he had never played the outfield in his profession career before this spring, it is another way to get Castillo into the lineup,. Again, there is no reason that Castillo should not be playing every day.

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This season should be all about seeing what the Pirates have in players such as Castillo. Now it is time to see what Castillo to do starting on a daily basis. Is it possible Castillo proves to be a starter for the Pirates moving forward? A bench player? Somewhere in between? It is time to take a step toward finding out.

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