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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Dumpster Diving – Welington Castillo

Yesterday, we began our dumpster diving series by looking at a possible American League catcher you can add through waivers.  Today, we will turn to the senior circuit to see if there are any players you can potentially add. Before we dive in we should lay out some ground rules so everyone comes in on the same page. The general idea is that if you are just focusing on your draft and then plugging in the lineup everyday then you aren’t doing enough to win.

Every smart fantasy player should be looking at the waiver wire at least once a week to see what names are out there and available. Some leagues limit the amount of moves you can make, but if you are in an uncapped league, it can pay to add guys to your roster that can help you for a few weeks at a time or more. Depending on how you treated catching on draft day, you might actually do better on the waiver wire than some guys that were projected as starters.

Those in the investing business have an expression for stocks that aren’t long-term bets. They often called them “penny stocks” because many of them literally were worth a penny to start with. So, if they went up to a nickel before you dumped it, it wasn’t important that the stock was worth only a nickel. It was important because you made four cents per share. In the same vein, if you add a lesser player when he is at a low point, you get all the upside and none of the downside. You can dump him for someone else when the tide starts turning because you’ve really invested nothing but a waiver claim.

It’s important to look at the basic statistics with any player, but the main statistic we want to focus on is the batting average on balls in play (BABIP). If that number is low, then we can surmise that the player is due to have a hot streak. If the reverse is true then we should avoid that player (or consider dumping him if you own him). The player we will focus on today is Welington Castillo of the Chicago Cubs. (Statistics as of April 21, 2014)

  • SLASH:  .231/.273/,442
  • HR/R/RBI:  3/4/8
  • BABIP: .281
  • SO/BB: 17/2

It should be noted that Castillo has a career .342 BABIP in 709 plate appearances. I wouldn’t say that is enough to be considered a trend, but we could say that he should produce numbers better than what he is right now. I think it would be perfectly reasonable to split the difference. That means he would have a BABIP somewhere around .310. In order to get there, he would need to have a hot streak at some point, so an investment in him as a backup option wouldn’t be a bad one.

Potential Castillo owners need to remember that you will not be penalized for anything that happened before. So, even if he hits .260 from here on out, you will only be on the hook for that .260 average. The only numbers that are problematic from this point are the strikeout and walk numbers. His career marks are at 24.8% on strikeouts and 7.6% on walks. In the 2014 season, he is sitting on 29.8 percent and 3.5 percent respectively. I would suspect that this will likely go back towards his career average as well.

With Ryan Hanigan, we saw that his batted ball numbers were close to his career average. We should look at Castillo as well to see if there is any particular reason why his BABIP has gone down as much as it has. So, the number on the left below represents the percentage he has this year while the number on the right represents his career rate.

  • LD%: 20.0, 20.6
  • GB%: 28.6, 42.7
  • FB%: 51.4, 36.7
  • HR/FB: 16.7, 10.1

So, he is showing more power this year and he is hitting more fly balls. That’s a pretty good combination and one to keep an eye on. If you look at Castillo’s minor league numbers, they indicate that he does have some pop in his bat. 2007 was his first full season in the minor leagues. Beginning that season, here were his home run totals for each season (2010, 2011, and 2012 include his big league time).

  • 2007: 11
  • 2008: 4
  • 2009: 11
  • 2010: 14
  • 2011: 16
  • 2012: 13

In 2013, he played in the big leagues for the whole season and amassed eight home runs in 428 plate appearances. Based on his minor league production, we might see that number increase to twice that much. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have that kind of production out of a backup fantasy catcher. He is owned by only two percent of Yahoo leagues at this moment. If he is available in your league, you might want to check him out.

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