Spring Training 2011 Mega-Preview: Wellington Castillo

Take everything I said about Justin Berg, and negate it.

Granted, Castillo's sample size was quite small in 2010, but those of you loony enough to watch September Cubs baseball had to like what they saw from this guy. 

Already regarded as the best defensive catcher in the entire system, Wellington went to the plate 21 times, drew one walk, got 6 hits, 4 of which were doubles and one was a four-ply belt.  Everything that came off his bat was screaming, even outs, fouls, and the occasional divot.  If we run with the small sample size one step further, Castillo's first stint in the bigs was far more impressive than Geo Soto's 2006 initial callup. 

Do I loves me some Wellington?  Well, no, love's pretty strong.  But I certainly think he did more in 21 at bats than Koyie Hill has done in his entire life.  Maybe a million dollars is chump change these days, but that is what they promised Hill to come back this year.  If Castillo plays better than Hill, and for God's sakes, how could he not?  Then the Ricketts family pays Hill that same million bucks to either sell insurance in Tulsa or flog 20 year old pitchers in Iowa.  In the meantime, here's a guy who would have cost half that much to play, most likely, twice as well.

But, that's Hendry for you.  Him and Hill most likely chased tail somewhere on the windswept prairies 15 years ago, so now Hill's one of "Hendry's Guys". 

If Hill remains on the roster instead of Castillo, is that going to make or break the Chicago Cubs?  Of course not.  Point is, though, in its small way, the backup catcher situation is reminiscent of most of the Cubs roster, where we have guys playing positions for us all over the field that could be, instead, being manned by more impactful players.  If only Hendry and the Cubs did things the way the other 29 teams in the league do things these days: use performance data to cross-check the recommendations of the scouts.  We're the only team these days doing it solely by the gut.  There is a guy on the payroll who has a statistical background, but he's only one guy, he hasn't been on the job very long, and there is no indication that he has had ANY input so far.

Thing is?  You don't need fancy statistical analysis to see that Castillo has a far, far higher upside than Hill.  You wonder who Hill has naked pictures of.  Plus, of course, I want a guy on the team we all can call "Beef".  Is that too much to ask?

Filed under: Wellington Castillo

Leave a comment