Welcome to BP Boston’s second annual Roster Recap series. Over the next few months, we’ll be analyzing every player on Boston’s 40-man roster and many of their top prospects in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the Red Sox roster’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as what we can expect moving forward. From MVP-candidate right fielders to reserve relievers, we want to give you a look at every Red Sox who might matter in 2017. View the complete list of Roster Recaps here. Enjoy!
As football season shifts to baseball and the first pictures from Fort Myers trickle in, we start reading and thinking about the Red Sox. Given the extra time Boston fans have to commit to the Sox this week, new opinions and points of analysis can take hold within Sox Nation. And, guys, I would like to throw my hat into the ring with a pretty hot take: I’m starting to think Rusney Castillo may not have been worth $72 million. Let’s call it a hunch and take a look back at his 2016 season.
What went right in 2016
The best things that happened to Rusney Castillo last season had nothing to do with Rusney Castillo. It was the fact that the Red Sox won 93 games. It was Mookie Betts smashing his way to a second-place MVP showing. It was Jackie Bradley Jr. raking 26 homers and earning a .835 OPS. And it was Andrew Benintendi, with his hair and dance moves, making an immediate impact in Boston after being called up.
Rusney Castillo’s 2016 was good because no one was paying attention. The big-league squad was massively exciting, and all the outfielders (the real ones, I’m so sorry Blake Swihart) played well. There was no room to think about Rusney Castillo. If there had been … yikes.
What went wrong in 2016
In nine games with the major league team, Castillo made eight plate appearances, nabbing a pair of hits and striking out three times. He was inserted as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement six of those nine games, starting just twice.
Castillo spent most of his season at the triple-A level, where things just weren’t much better. He slashed .263/.309/.354/.664 in 103 games and just under 400 at-bats. He had just a pair of homers and 34 RBIs and stole nine bases. Pretty much everything went wrong and, at this point, Castillo appears to be nothing more than a middling Triple-A outfielder. Don’t shed a tear for him, though, he’s still getting capital-p Paid.
What to expect in 2017
Castillo arrived in Boston to massive hype at the tail end of a miserable 2014 season. Given an under-performing team, it was fun to latch onto the expectations of a $70-plus million investment in a player who appeared to hold huge talent. Unfortunately, two full seasons into the seven-year deal, none of that talent has shown itself on the big-league level. It’s sad, but if you’re expecting much out of Castillo in 2017, I wouldn’t hold your breath. The 2017 Red Sox are stacked with young players poised make an October run, and Rusney Castillo will likely not be a part of it.
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