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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.