During the 2022 season utility man Diego Castillo made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates and flashed some positive things
Even though Castillo had his fair share of offensive struggles in 2022, he still flashed some positives during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This puts him in position to be an intriguing piece moving forward.
Castillo had 283 plate appearances in 96 games with the Pirates during the 2022 season. The right-handed hitter hit for a .206/.251/.382 slash line, a 73 wRC+, and an OPS+ of 76 in his first MLB season.
After a great spring training Castillo made the team’s Opening Day roster. However, due to his offensive struggles he did return to the minor leagues during the summer. Castillo was able to re-join the Pittsburgh Pirates after this demotion, however.
The 24-year-old played all over the field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a strong defender at second base and shortstop, while also playing the corner infield position. Even though he struggled there defensively, Castillo also saw time in night field.
Where Castillo feasted most was against left-handed pitching. Castillo hit for a .239/.281/.507 slash line with a 114 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers in 2022. Nine of the 11 home runs that Castillo hit came against lefties.
During his rookie campaign Castillo was also hurt by a .239 batting average on balls in play (BAbip). League average BAbip is .300. The lower a BAbip is below .300 the more it indicates that a batter has been hurt by poor luck.
Castillo had an average exit velocity of 89.1 MPH, a barrel rate of 9.9%, and a hard hit rate of 38.7%. All of these were higher than league average. Hitting the ball with authority was not an issue for Castillo in 2022, which also indicates that improvements could be on the horizon for 2023.
There is a chance that Castillo could crack the team’s Opening Day roster once again in 2023, especially with his ability to play all over the diamond. There is also the possibility that Castillo still has steps to take and growth to be made as a hitter. It would not be a surprise to see him emerge as a quality super utility player in 2023.