The Detroit Tigers’ middle infield had a year to forget.
It was a rough season for the Detroit Tigers middle infielders, and even that feels like an understatement. Underperformances and injuries kept shifting playing time, and ultimately no one stood out. Looking at these grades, it’s no wonder the Tigers are looking to add a shortstop.
Willi Castro: D-
Well, this is a disappointing grade to give. After what seemed like a promising 2020, the real Willi Castro showed out this season when given an everyday opportunity. Out of all players receiving regular ABs, Willi was the worst. The only thing keeping him above a straight F is the fact that observant fans expected some regression, as his BABIP last year was a completely unsustainable .448.
Niko Goodrum: D
Niko Goodrum had been a mainstay of this rebuild, but at this point, it feels like he has really lost his place. After missing significant chunks of the season due to injury, he found his role in the middle infield replaced by guys like Harold Castro, who provided almost perfectly equivalent numbers. The low grade is partially reflective of disappointment that he has yet to recover his 2018-19 form.
Zack Short: F
Zack Short played in 61 games this season, amassing a slash line of .141/.239/.282. He had a -0.7 fWAR, good for the second-lowest on the team. Zack Short was not good at baseball this season.
Harold Castro: C+
Hittin’ Harold Castro did just that this season. Although he slotted in as a below-average hitter with no power of which to speak, his 75% contact rate allowed him to put balls in play at a rate good enough to put his batting average at .283. That, paired with his positional versatility, made him a solidly average Tigers infielder this season.
Overall there were many solid performances and many equally awful performances. However, it was certainly a step in the right direction. If anything, this year from the hitting core is an indication that the new coaching staff has the team moving in the right direction.