Willi Castro
Willi Castro
22-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Detroit Tigers
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The first half of 2018 was a disappointment, but Castro turned it on after a deadline trade to the Tigers, posting a robust 155 wRC+ in 26 games with Double-A Erie to earn a promotion to Triple-A to close out his age-21 season. Castro does not project to provide a lot of category juice -- he's topped out with 11 home runs and 20 steals, the latter being a generous reflection of his speed. However, he has displayed decent bat-to-ball ability for his age, with his strikeout rate never exceeding 21.9% over a meaningful sample. There's also at least some hope for more power as he matures and fills out his 6-foot-1 frame. Detroit brought in Jordy Mercer as a stopgap at shortstop and Niko Goodrum is seemingly locked in at second base for the time being, so it's difficult to imagine we see Castro debut in 2019. If he builds on his late run at Triple-A, we could see Castro early on in 2020. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a one-year contract with the Indians in March of 2018. Traded to the Tigers in July of 2018.
Sent to minors
SSDetroit Tigers  AAA
March 10, 2019
Castro was optioned to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports.
Castro made enough of an impression early in spring training that manager Rod Gardenhire indicated he could see time at shortstop for the Tigers at some point this season. Nonetheless, the 21-year-old will begin the season at Triple-A, where he saw five games of action in 2018 after a late-season promotion.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Last season was Castro's first year in pro ball as an above-league-average hitter (115 wRC+), but the breakout at High-A in his age-20 season looks legitimate. His 11 homers topped his career total entering the year (10 in 236 games), but his 8.3 percent HR/FB was not alarming, and it simply looks like a young player naturally growing into some pop. He has 64 career steals, but with just slightly above-average speed and a career 66.7 percent success rate, it would be foolish to expect him to steal more than 10 or 12 bases annually in his early years in the majors. Castro cut his pull rate from 50 percent at Low-A to 43.7 percent at High-A, and considering he excels at making contact (17.6 percent strikeout rate), he should be able to continue to hit for fairly high batting averages in the upper levels. He could stick at shortstop, but will likely eventually move to second base or center field if he remains with the Indians.
A switch-hitting shortstop from Puerto Rico, Castro held his own as a 19-year-old at Low-A. Perhaps predictably, he struggled at times to make contact. Castro hit .259 with a .283 OBP in 123 games. He fanned 96 times while drawing just 16 walks. Still, Castro showed an intriguing power/speed combination, smacking seven home runs while swiping 16 bases. The potential for double-digit home runs and stolen bases for a 19-year-old at a middle infield position makes him a prospect to watch. He is built in the same mold as current Indians superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, though nobody is saying Castro has anywhere near that kind of ceiling. He must refine his approach and exercise more patience at the dish. Castro should start the 2017 campaign at High-A.
Castro, 18, offers a hit-over-power with a little speed offensive profile at shortstop. At 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, there is room to project a tad more power down the road, but batting average, runs, and steals will be the foundation of his fantasy value. He slashed .264/.304/.330 with one home run and 20 steals (on 27 attempts) in 67 games in the New York-Penn League, where the average player was more than three years his senior. His 10.3% K-rate also demonstrates an advanced ability to make contact, although the fact that he has never posted a BABIP over .295 suggests that contact is often weak. While shortstops with Castro’s profile, such as Erick Aybar, are useful once they reach the big leagues, his lack of double-digit home run power and an ETA of at least 2019 makes him difficult to roster in most formats.
More Fantasy News
Getting positive reviews in camp
SSDetroit Tigers  AAA
February 28, 2019
Castro has been drawing praise from manager Ron Gardenhire this spring and he could factor into the team's plans at shortstop at some point this season, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports.
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Promoted to Triple-A
SSDetroit Tigers  AAA
August 30, 2018
Castro was promoted to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday, Emily Waldon of The Athletic Detroit reports.
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Sent to Detroit
SSDetroit Tigers  AAA
July 31, 2018
Castro was shipped from Cleveland to Detroit in exchange for Leonys Martin and Kyle Dowdy on Tuesday, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports.
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Added to 40-man roster
SSCleveland Indians  AAA
November 20, 2017
Castro was added to the Indians' 40-man roster on Monday to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
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Shines in High-A campaign
SSCleveland Indians  AAA
September 18, 2017
Castro capped off 2017, his first full season with High-A Lynchburg, hitting .290/.337/.424 with 11 home runs, 58 RBI, 69 runs and 19 stolen bases.
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