There’s no sugarcoating it. Rodolfo Castro is a significantly more impactful player from the right side of the plate than left. The Pittsburgh Pirates infielder has the capability to play second, shortstop, and third base, but his bat is what draws significant attention.
Castro has fallen out of favor the past few weeks. He owns only 32 at-bats in Mat after posting 77 to begin the year in April. The switch hitter is batting .188 this month and owns seven defensive errors, six at short, attempting to fill the void left by the injured Oniel Cruz.
A third-year player who has seen mixed results but major power potential - 21 home runs in 448 at-bats - Castro may look to change his approach before walking up to the plate.
Castro is hitting .206 against right-handers in 63 at-bats while slugging at a .238 clip. He’s posted a .324 on-base percentage and .562 OPS through 30 games.
The 24-year-old is an entirely different player from the right side of the dish. Castro mashes lefties at a .326 clip in 46 at-bats. He reaches base against left-handed pitching at a .418 rate with a .717 slug rate and whopping 1.135 OPS. Castro only hit .220 facing righties in 2022 compared to .263 from the left side.
Cannonball for Rodolfo Castro!!! pic.twitter.com/9N9DwBgGYs— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 17, 2023
Castro once again did not crack the starting lineup for Derek Shelton Monday night as the Pirates face the Texas Rangers. He has become a platoon player who only starts when a left-hander begins on the mound and can potentially attribute three at-bats from the right side.
Specifically making Castro a right-handed hitter would allow him to focus on one side of the plate and simplify the game, to an extent. His success in the right-handed batter’s box may be a microcosm of attacking lefties rather than being his more dominant side.
Facing right-handers from the same side may induce negative results for Castro, but does it hurt to attempt? He is still a young player, which sits well in both arguments for and against.
The Pirates may want to consider toying with Castro from his more productive side of the plate, especially if it will keep him out of the lineup. His defensive lapses signal a potential shift to DH or even first base in the future. A larger sample size will tell a better story, but nearly two months into the season, the writing for a change may already be on the wall.