One of the biggest contributors to the Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t even play his first game for the team until the beginning of June. Once Welington Castillo arrived, the catcher’s spot, in flux when Tuffy Gosewisch was lost for the season, was immediately stabilized and became a strength for the D-backs. “Beef” became one of Arizona’s most dangerous hitters and in the process, revitalized his career which was at best stalled after stints with the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners.
The trade that brought Castillo and others from the Mariners in exchange for Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno goes down as the best deal Dave Stewart has made so far. He hit 17 home runs for the D-backs, tied for third with David Peralta and his OPS of .813 was good for fourth. Castillo had a great month of July hitting .311 with a .425 on-base percentage and in August he knocked in 17 runs. He pounded his former team in Seattle with five hits, including three home runs in two games at the end of July.
Although a competent defender behind the plate, Castillo could improve upon the 28% success of runners caught trying to steal after nailing 33% in 2014. Yadier Molina, acknowledged by many as the best in the game, is usually in the 40’s. However, like most of the D-backs position players in 2015, there really isn’t much on the negative side for Castillo.
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Catcher has gone from a question mark after the trade of Miguel Montero and Gosewisch’s injury to a strength with Castillo behind the dish. He extended the lineup once pitchers got past Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock while benefiting guys like Peralta and Ender Inciarte. The good news for D-backs’ fans is that Castillo is under club control for the next three years although you can expect a significant raise through arbitration. He’ll turn 29 on April 24th. Was this a career year from Castillo? Or can the Arizona Diamondbacks expect this kind of production in 2016?