Could Welington Castillo Be An Option at Catcher?


The Chicago Cubs have been really busy this offseason believing that can compete and win right now. They took a huge step forward when they won the Jon Lester sweepstakes last week, adding a veteran ace to their staff.

After adding Lester, the Cubs wanted to make him feel more comfortable on the mound. They accomplished that today after signing veteran catcher David Ross to a two year five million dollar deal.

The Diamondbacks were interested in Ross according to multiple reports, and this team is still looking for a catcher after trading Montero to Chicago.

The Cubs now have Montero, Welington Castillo, Ross, and Ryan Lavarnway whom they claimed off waivers from the Dodgers today, and that might make Castillo expendable, at a reasonable price.

Castillo has proven that he can start and be counted on at the big league level. He has been the Cubs starting backstop for the past two seasons, playing in 113 games in 2013, and 110 games this past season. While his numbers aren’t very consistent, they aren’t really bad for a catcher either.

However, Castillo had an average year at the plate in 2014. In the same amount of plate appearances as 2013 (380), Castillo hit .237 which was 37 points lower than his average in 2013, with 13 HR, 46 RBI’s, an OPS+ of 89, which is under the league average of 100, and a wOBA of .306 which is below average.

For those that don’t know, OPS+ or on base plus slugging plus, is a much better representation of a players offensive contributions. It normalizes OPS adjusting for park and league affects. Meanwhile wOBA or weighted on base average, is very popular because it doesn’t treat every hit equally.

While Castillo’s power might translate well to Chase Field, he is just an average offensive bat. He is a pretty good defensive catcher.

In particular, he is great at preventing the run game, which is something the Dbacks are looking to improve in. For his career he has allowed 161 stolen bases, has only caught 71 runners, and has a CS% of 36%. That actually is pretty good considering league average is in the mid 20’s, but he has a problem calling the game, and his pitch framing skills need some work. This tells the story: last year when Castillo was behind the plate, Cubs pitchers era was a run higher.

The Diamondbacks young starting staff needs a catcher that can control the game, and I’m not sure that Castillo fits the bill. He is under team control for three more years.

The Dbacks are looking to add a left-handed bat to the lineup, and Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro might be a better option. He is left-handed, and he is a much better all around catcher. Read more about him here.

At this point if I were Dave Stewart, I would keep Castillo as an option, but go after Navarro.