Starlin Castro’s Fantasy Value

Depending on how his fielding develops, Starlin Castro may always be one of those players whose better in real life than in fantasy baseball. However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any fantasy value, so it’s important that we investigate and figure out exactly how much he is worth.

Instead of looking at all the different projection systems that we feature here on FanGraphs individually, it’s best to combine the four and get some kind of consensus. Because I’m a swell guy, I’ve done that for you. And for those of you wondering, I didn’t take the easy way out by just averaging out his actual batting average, instead using the hits and at-bats like a good little boy.

Combined projection: 73 R, 5 HR, 58 RBI, 14 SB, .300 BA (549 AB)

The easiest way to get a player’s overall value is to either break him down category by category, or simply look at that player’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we have broken Castro down by category using the projection above, let’s take a look at any strengths and weaknesses he may have.

Strengths: Batting Average
A .300 batting average would put him among the top-3 or 4 shortstops in that department, and while a .300 average feels a bit optimistic, most owners would be more than happy to settle for a rate around .290.

Weaknesses: Home Runs
While it’s rare to draft a shortstop with home runs in mind, Castro stills is well below-average in that category. It only knocks a couple of bucks off his total value, but it’s still a minus.

Castro may not be spectacular, but his numbers are just about what an average shortstop will produce. Not average among the top-12, mind you, but instead an average among all the shortstops that meet an AB minimum. The key for Castro will be the offense surrounding him, as every 10 runs or so he adds to his projection adds another dollar to his overall value. He scored only 53 last year in about 500 trips to the plate, but that was due to being stuck in the 7th and 8th hole for a third of his plate appearances.

While batting second, Castro scored 37 runs in 300 at bats. Assuming he hits second all of next year and scores runs at the same rate, Castro would be projected to cross the plate 68 times in 2011. Accounting for a little offensive upgrade for the Cubs thanks to a full season of Aramis Ramirez not sucking and Carlos Pena providing a little more pop than Derek Lee, the combined projection of 73 runs is more than reasonable, it’s seems highly likely.

Mock Draft Central has Castro’s ADP around pick 173, making him as the 11th shortstop off the board and the 159th player overall. Using the combined projections, Castro is probably the 10th ranked SS on the board, so he should be worth that pick. Depending on what you think of his base-stealing potential, you could justify taking him closer to the 11/12 turn (around 133rd overall). In auction drafts, he worth around $8, and you should probably be able to get him for around $10, depending on when he’s nominated.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

16 Responses to “Starlin Castro’s Fantasy Value”

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  1. Will Hatheway says:

    Do you see Uribe as a fair value? He certainly has weaknesses (hello average) but also some pop and will go significantly later/cheaper. I’m not sure how to predict his price, though, but am considering “punting shortstop” this year and wondered about him and/or Peralta…

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    • Zach Sanders says:

      Uribe is worth a buck (maybe two) at the end of your draft.

      I like Peralta this year. MDC’s ADP has him being way undervalued, and I’d happily pay the couple of dollars it will probably take to get him.

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  2. Ray says:

    I’m having a hard time seeing how his power isn’t considered a weakness. 3 HR’s in 2010 and a projection of 5 HR’s? I know SS is a very weak position in terms of power but 5 HR’s would have landed him t-15th among 22 SS’s, and the 3 he hit last year placed him 20th. I agree with the rest of the article and your placement of Castro as the 10th SS off the board looks about right, but the power just has to be a weakness, right?

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    • Zach Sanders says:

      Not sure why I didn’t include it. Probably because we don’t think of power when we think of Castro and it just slipped my mind.

      It’s included now.

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    • Rudy Gamble says:

      On Razzball, I’ve projected him as worth -1.0 points in HR and +0.7 in AVG (that’s the impact to a team in a 12-team MLB league). His R/RBI/SB are all just slightly below average.

      I agree with Zack’s $8 assessment and a decent target for mid-to-late rounds.

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  3. Scooter says:

    For the auction values, could you specify (1) single league or mixed league, and (2) 4×4 or 5×5 (or other)?

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    • Zach Sanders says:

      Unless otherwise specified, you should always assume standard mixed, usually 12-team.

      I’ll try to do better and mention that in the future. Bad habits die hard.

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  4. Jason B says:

    I know it’s sometimes a necessity come auction day, but I hate burning $10 on modest, middle-of-the-road production (this isn’t specific to Castro, but it’s always a thought I hae when I see auction dollar values advising spending like $10 on Orlando Hudson or Cody Ross or some such).

    (And no, I know *no one* is advising spending that much on O-Dawg this year, just an example from past seasons when you got his usual 5/40/80 production for your $10.)

    I guess I’m a ‘stars and scrubs’ guy at heart…I guess I’m always thinking I can get like 75% of the production of the $10 guy for a buck or two at the end of the draft.

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  5. Everett says:

    Castro is one I’m trying to decide what to do with keeper wise. I play in an H2H by category league (kind of your hybrid roto), except with roughly 12 stats for offense (and pitching). I can keep Castro as a 25 this year, and he’d become a 12 next year. Only get 3 keepers, and I’ve already got Pujols as a 1 and Carlos Santana as a 25. I could keep Carl Crawford as my 2, or go with other late round options such as Francisco Rodriguez or Jonathon Broxton as 25s (because for some reason they got dropped in my league and FAs are treated as 25s). Obviously with 12 categories saves aren’t nearly as big of a deal, but the rate stats from relievers certainly do help.

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  6. BronxOrioleFan says:

    I’m in a keeper league too, and Castro’s tempting, but if I keep him for another 3 or 4 years, what’s really his ceiling? I know he’s young, but is there any more power potential? And why isn’t he the speedster one might assume him to be? Like, is there a chance that in a couple of years he goes 15/25 and still hits around .300? If so, great, I’ll keep him. But in a league like the one mentioned above (12×12), am I better off keeping someone else? Like, in particular, Mark Reynolds? This article kind of makes me think so…

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  7. KyleJo says:

    I bet Castro hits around 15 homers in his prime. He has a great stroke and you can tell his frame will fill out more. 31 doubles in and 5 triples in 463 ab, not bad.

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  8. Matt says:

    In a keeper league: 125 dollars total cap

    Asdursabel: .25/.50/1/2/4
    Castro: 2.50/2.50/2.50/5/10

    Those are the costs for the next 4 years who do you like. Total bases league.

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    • Ryan S says:

      Cabrera certainly won’t kill you at that price, but it all depends on what you need. Cabrera has reached his max potential, his 80/8/60/15/.290 is about the best you’ll ever get from him. Certainly not bad and even good at the price you’re paying. But Castro is a guy that can certainly produce that same line, with a better BA and perhaps continue to get better. If you have the money and need the upside then go for it. If not and you need to spend the difference elsewhere then stick with Cabrera.

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  9. Ryan S says:

    Does Jed Lowrie get enough playing time this year to matter in fantasy? He’s relatively unowned in standard mixed leagues, but Bill James seems to think if he gets 550 PA’s that he’s capable of a 75/17/75/4/.270 line. I mean he did post a .393 wOBA last year in ~200 PA’s and if anyone knows what Lowrie is capable of and how much PT he gets, it’s James. I mean, he’s no black hole in the infield so…. what’s the deal?

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