As 2012 developed Astros’ fans were forced to look for small victories on an individual basis. Trying to find individual moments that could provide glimpses into the future. Seeing Jason Castro turn into an everyday catcher was one of those moments for myself. I saw a guy that started the season with tons to prove and, while not everything went right, Jason did a fine job of providing fans with something to look forward to. There are more hurdles to overcome for Castro but when healthy, he was one of the more consistent players on the Astros roster from start to finish.
After missing the entire 2012 season with a major knee injury, Castro needed to prove many doubters wrong. For the most part he has done just that, although injury questions do still linger. Those questions may simply be part of the process of coming back from a devastating knee injury so I’m not so worried about that. Offensively, he showed plenty and should continue to improve yearly. Lets all remember the guy is still young and has a chance to really take a step forward two seasons removed from knee surgery. His OPS won’t stand out and probably does need to improve slightly but his batting average and OBP do look good to me. Castro has stayed right around the .260 mark with his average and right around the .340 mark for his OBP, for a catcher, I’ll take that. He won’t win silver slugger awards but that’s not the point. I’m sure most Astros’ fans would have loved for him to become Joe Mauer but that just wasn’t in the cards for him. He needs to improve his power a bit, a .377 slugging percentage doesn’t inspire me much although 15 doubles in just under 240 ABs isn’t bad.
Defensively, Castro does have work to do. I still see a lot of passed balls and wild pitches happen during his watch, although a lot less as the season has progressed. Both of those numbers have gotten marginally worse since 2010 in roughly 100 more innings, not sure what to think about that. His caught stealing percentage has dipped significantly and that concerns me although is it him or the staff? Castro has a good arm, really good, so I wonder if its just not his familiarity with the ever changing pitching staff or simply needing to get used to baserunners and their tendencies. That said, he seems better behind the plate, more calm and more in control and that’s a good sign of progression. I see improvement and given his major injury last year, I’m more than willing to bet he will get even better behind the dish in 2013.
Like most prospects, time will tell with Jason. As the season got underway, I wanted to simply see progress in Castro’s game. I didn’t mind if we see an OPS in the .700 range because that is fine, for now. Small victories are what this season was about and to see players make strides. Jason has done that and hasn’t looked lost or confused. Now the real fun begins in 2013, he will be well past his injury and should able to go out there on an everyday basis. Lets see if the young guy who is now going to be depended upon for consistent production takes the next step in his evolution of becoming a regular everyday catcher.