It is really easy to gloss over Leandro Castro in a box score. He hasn’t made prospect lists in a while after peaking at #24 after the 2011 season. His stats won’t jump off a page with a career line of .271/.312/.415 and coming off of a season where he hit .256/.280/.368 as a 24 year old in AAA. However, given all of that Leandro Castro is putting himself in a position to get a callup to the majors later in the season, especially if the Phillies trade John Mayberry Jr.
Castro has always been ultra-aggressive in every aspect of his game. At the plate has been no exception, from 2011 to 2013 his walk rate was 2.1%, 3.3%, 3.3%, but in 2014 Castro has put up a 7.7% BB% as he has been more patient at the plate. In the meantime his strikeout rate has stayed relatively low at 15.7%. This has added an extra dimension to a game that has been lacking standout skills. If Castro can keep the walk rate up going forward it will allow him to continue to grow his other skills at the plate.
Master of None Average at All:
The real knock against Castro is that he has never had an impact offensive skill to hang his future on. He topped out at 10 HRs 3 years in a row (thought he his the 10 in 56 games in 2011), and he has topped out at 20 SBs. The hit tool is fringe average to average, and he has some issues that keep him from putting good strength to work. As for the that strength it manifests in plus raw power, but it could play closer to fringe average to average due to the hit tool. Coca Cola Park has sapped some of his power, though he has hit 3 of his 4 home runs there this year. Overall if given a full year of ABs he is a guy who could put up a .260 batting average with 15 HRs 25 SBs and an OBP in the .330 range. It isn’t sexy, but if he could hit those marks he could be a useful player.
The one advantage Castro has over his peers is his defense. Unlike Cam Perkins, he can hold down center field for short periods of time. In a corner he is a good defender and he has a solid arm. If the bat can keep him in a lineup he fits best defensively in right field. Overall, the ability to play all three outfield positions fits well into his profile.
Fitting a Role:
Castro does not profile as a starting outfielder, rather he fits perfectly as a 4th/5th outfielder for a team. He can provide power, speed, and defense in enough quantity to be useful, but he risks being exposed if he plays too much. Due to his defensive versatility he is a natural in house candidate to fill in on the major league roster if one or both of John Mayberry and Marlon Byrd are traded. He is not on the 40 man roster which could be his biggest impediment to getting a chance.