Welington Castillo – primary catcher
Signed to a two-year deal last year, Castillo seems to be taking over the role of everyday starting catcher. He had familiarity with this role with this team last year but unfortunately was suspended 80 games for testing positive for banned performance-enhancer Erythropoietin.
Before the suspension, however, Castillo was showing promise by hitting a slash of .259/.304/.406 with six home runs through 49 games. Those may not be fantastic numbers, but compared to the numbers produced by catchers in previous years for the White Sox, they were promising.
It has been a while since Castillo played a full season of baseball. In 2017 he played just 96 games for the Baltimore Orioles. A year before that, he played 113 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, tying the most games he has played in a season with his 2013 year with the Chicago Cubs.
If Castillo can play a full season, which for him is around 100-120 games, he can produce some impressive numbers. If given the chance, he could easily hit 10 to 15 home runs. With some help from the guys ahead of him in the order, he could potentially have the opportunity to drive in 60 to 70 runs.
An aspect he will need to improve on is his plate discipline. He consistently has a high strikeout percentage, mid to high 20’s. He constantly has a low walk percentage, ranging five to nine percent.
As a team leader, Castillo needs to have a different kind of approach at the plate. With young players like Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada with low walk percentages and high strikeout percentages, Castillo needs to bring a different approach.
Castillo had an okay Spring Training. It was nothing to get excited about, but still solid. He hit .240 with a slugging percentage of .480. He hit one home run and drove in four while smacking three doubles.
Again, the only concern would be his walk and strikeout numbers. He struck out six times and did not draw a walk in 25 plate appearances. It is concerning to see he has not changed his approach and has not been able to draw even a decent amount of walks. Hopefully, he will be able to adjust during the season. They say hitting is contagious so all it takes is one guy.
Up and down the lineup consists of players with this type of style, with an exception of one, maybe two. The inability to work the count and get on base and aggressive swing and missing has been the anchor weighing down the White Sox for a better part of last decade.
If the team is looking to contend this year and beyond, they need to have a different approach at the plate. It starts with a team leader like Castillo.