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Jason Castro's Defense: What you may not know about the Astros Catcher of the Future

Maybe it's just me who does this, but after after Astro losses this season I find myself thinking about the future. Not necessarily next week, or next month, but moreso September 2009 and the 2010 season. Perhaps it's just a coping mechanism of mine- this allows me to not get too up or too down about any one loss. To be honest, it doesn't usually work, but I do it nonetheless. My mind wandered to the draft, and then wandered back in time to 2008 when Jason Castro was selected first by the hometown team.

Besides being universally denounced as an over-reached pick, Castro was pegged as player who would be an average major leaguer, if that. He was of first round quality, but not top ten quality. A funny thing has happened between then and now: Castro has turned the doubters into believers in just a year's time. Between the Rookie Leagues, to Hawaii to High A Lancaster to now being a Corpus Christi Hook, our young catcher has seemingly legtimized Bobby Heck's 2008 draft all by himself.

The one caveat that often comes up with playing in Lancaster is that it is a hitter's paradise, and a pitcher's worst nightmare. Take those stats with a grain of salt a wise baseball man/woman might say. This is true to, to an extent, and Astros fans should remember that.

One area of the game that isn't affected by where Castro plays is his defense- specifically his ability to throw potential basestealers out. At Stanford, Castro was decent in this regard- nailing 33/93 baserunners, good for for a rate of 35.4%. If Division I Baseball is anything like the majors, then that is above average and was most likely noted as a plus heading into the draft last season. Since starting his professional career though, Castro has blossomed into a spectacular defensive catcher, in terms of halting an opponent's running game. In 86 total chances, Jason has thrown out a spectacular 52% of potential basestealers.

True, minor league players don't have the skill or technique of most major leaguers, but it's not as if there aren't a ton of guys in the bigs who run far too often, and get gunned out far too often as a result. Point being, this is an aspect of Castro's game that has improved since he has become a professional. We can't say for certain whether or not Heck/Wade saw this coming, but even if they didn't, Jason Castro is looking more and more like a savvy selection.

If Castro can maintain his hot hitting ways- and after starting his AA stint hitting .368 it looks like he will- a 2010 call up is likely. Tough times may befall the Astros at points during this season, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


Looks good in that uniform, eh?