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Should Rusney Castillo start the year in the minors?

March 23, 2016

CastilloBaseball players tend to peak at around 29 years old. But if this is the best for Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, who is set to turn 29 this July, it could be a serious issue.

The Cuban outfielder, who is earning over $10 million a year for the next five seasons is slated to be the team’s starting left fielder albeit he posted a .566 OPS against right-handed pitchers last season. To put it in perspective, FanGraphs calls anything under .570, “awful”. Recently, it’s been pointed out that Castillo struggles against higher velocity fastballs and hits a lot of grounders.

This game is played much differently in Cuba so for such an old player, Castillo lacks baseball sense which results him him being thrown out on the base paths and committing more mental mistakes than most defensively.

Not the best read on a routine play.

Castillo, who hit a little better at the top level in the second half, still has two minor league options remaining, so if the Red Sox wanted to they could start him off in Triple-A Pawtucket. And they would be pretty smart to do just that.

With the addition of right-handed power hitting outfielder Chris B. Young this past offseason, the Red Sox added a another lefty killer. And on the leap day, they added a respectable left-handed outfield bat in David Murphy.

Murphy and Young would make a strong platoon given their extremes in splits. Young will be in Boston no matter what. But Murphy is threatening retirement if he does not make the Red Sox Opening Day roster. Having such an established outfielder in Triple-A seemed too good to be true anyways for Boston.

If Castillo does not start the season in the minors, it appears as though left-handed power bat Travis Shaw will end up seeing significant action in left field to make up for Castillo’s inability to hit right-handed pitching. The words “tough right-handed pitching” were used.

If Shaw is the better hitter against right-handed pitching, then why wouldn’t he be the regular? That has to leave people dazed and confused.

Say Castillo ends up being the Red Sox Opening Day starter, expect him batting ninth — below lifetime .213 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr.

With his speed and strong showing at the plate against left-handed pitching, Castillo could be a strong fourth outfield option. But he and Young create redundancy.

John Farrell’s plan for left field right now looks like a wild party. Castillo, Young, Shaw and Babe Ruth’s grandson, Brock Holt are all expected to take reps at the  position.