The Detroit Tigers will not be back on the field any time soon with the lockout going on, but there’s still plenty to examine with the roster in its current shape. One of the things that the team has to start thinking about is Willi Castro.
The Detroit Tigers put a lot of trust in Castro after acquiring him from the Cleveland Indians in a trade that sent Leonys Martín and Kyle Dowdy the other way. The team worked him through the minors until he was ready to make the jump to the 2019 season.
He finally broke through to the big leagues in 2019 and was deemed one of the team’s options at shortstop moving forward. Now, in 2022 the Tigers will have Javier Báez locking things down at shortstop after agreeing to a six-year, $140 million contract with the middle infielder.
Castro was one of those under-the-radar guys who had a high ceiling but has not quite become that dynamic shortstop for the team. Which, given the Báez signing, is okay. The bigger thing that the Tigers have to worry about is where Castro will slot in moving forward.
Detroit Tigers infielder Willi Castro is looking at an uphill battle in 2022.
Castro lost his starting job recently and has started to find other ways to crack the Tigers lineup. He made some appearances for the Tigers in 2021 as a part of the team’s outfield, but I would not expect much of that in 2022.
The moral of the story of Castro looking ahead is that he will have to impress the coaching staff and earn his playing time here and there, dominating in those appearances. He finished the 2020 season with impressive stats over the 36 games that he did see the field.
Castro had a .349/.381/.550 slash line over his 140 plate appearances during the COVID-19 shortened season. He followed that up with a much different performance over an entire 162-game season.
He found his way into 125 games for the Tigers, appearing in 91 at second base, 20 at shortstop, and 10 in the outfield while accumulating 450 plate appearances. After a strong 2020, he would only muster up a .220/.273/.351 slash line with 30 extra-base hits and 38 RBI.
It was a step back in performance and something the Tigers have to be hoping they can see him straighten out in the 2022 season. That being said, it goes back to that moral of the story from earlier; playing time.
Castro will have a tougher time finding his way into the lineup this season. With corner outfield positions being handed out to others, Castro will have to find somewhere to slot into this lineup and provide benefit if he wants any shot at being a consistent face.