Fantasy Impact: Yankees Acquire Starlin Castro
On Tuesday night, Starlin Castro was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the New York Yankees for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. This gives the Yankees a 26-year-old 2B, a weak offensive position, with nearly 1,000 career hits and a career .281 batting average. To obtain Castro, they only had to give up a swingman and a backup shortstop. The Cubs were looking to move either Castro or Javier Baez with the signing of Ben Zobrist.
The move to the American League should help Castro’s stats as well. The durability of Castro, averaging 153 games played since 2011, is also a good thing for the Yankees and his range should not be discounted. The fantasy impact of Castro to the New York Yankees must be assessed.
After posting a .245 batting average in 2013, dropping off the fantasy radar, Castro has a .278 batting average over the last two seasons while averaging 42 extra-base hits per season as well. A low OBP has always plagued the 26-year-old, he only has a .321 career OBP, but he has averaged 31 doubles per season and has had double-digit home runs in each of the last five seasons. Castro has had an OPS under .700 in two of the last three seasons and has lost his 20-stolen base potential over the last few seasons.
However, a move to the American League and Yankee Stadium will see a boost in Castro’s stats. In two of the last three seasons, Castro has had an OBP under .300, mainly because he has never walked more than 40 times in a season, but his right-handed bat will help the Yankees. The Yankees only hit .249 against left-handed pitching in 2015, striking out 19.6% of the time, but the addition of Castro and Aaron Hicks will help the Yankees against lefties. Castro has a career .295 batting average against left-handed pitchers and will add to his power at Yankee Stadium as well.
Castro would be a great late-round addition for fantasy owners and the move to 2B from shortstop will help fantasy owners looking for a solid batting average/extra-base hit combination. A drop in line drive rate from 22.3% to 17% hurts Castro, and his fly ball rate dropping to 28.9% from 32.3% in 2014 is also not a positive trend. Fantasy owners need to expect little from Castro, but for a late-round flier at 2B/SS, the new Yankee 2B can be a valuable part of a successful team.