With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
C Welington Castillo
Opening Day age: 29
Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season with player option for 2018
2016 stats: .264/.322/.423, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 41 R, 2 SB, 457 PA
Why to be impressed: Former Oriole Matt Wieters has received many more accolades throughout his career, but Castillo is a year younger and has posted a .747 OPS over the last two years compared to Wieters’ .723 mark over that same stretch. Not known for his defense, Castillo threw out a career-high 38 percent of runners attempting to steal last season.
Why to be concerned: Arguably the biggest reason why Arizona didn’t tender Castillo was his ranking in the bottom five in pitch-framing metrics from 2013-2015 with only modest improvement last year. And while the Orioles downplay the significance of his absence this spring, Castillo’s participation in the World Baseball Classic eliminated the chance for him to better familiarize himself with his new pitchers.
2017 outlook: There’s little reason to think that Castillo won’t be a solid short-term starting catcher with Caleb Joseph backing him up as the Orioles wait on the progress of top prospect Chance Sisco. However, it is fair to wonder what ultimately turns clubs off from Castillo as he’s been traded twice and non-tendered over the last two calendar years.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .256/.315/.421, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 44 R, 1 SB, 431 PA