The Houston Astros entered the season with one of the best platoon options behind the dish, but as the season progress, why isn’t Jason Castro starting more? While you can have your opinion of the revived career of Castro, it doesn’t make sense that he is burning a hole on the bench, when the workload could be split more often with Martin Maldonado.
This catching duo is nothing like we had anticipated, while being two of the smartest players behind the plate today, it makes sense that you aren’t looking for big numbers in the batter’s box. With that being said, Maldonado has been hitting as if he was a pitcher and isn’t breaking an early season slump, as Castro is quietly posting a .943 OPS.
As Martin Maldonado continues to struggle, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a right-hander or left-hander, Jason Castro deserves more starts.
While most lineup matchups this season depend on the opposing pitcher’s arm, Castro hasn’t been getting too many starts against right-handed pitching like he should. With Maldonado going day to day after a nasty collision in Tuesday’s game, it is evident that Castro will be taking more starts.
Coming into the 2021 season, it was evident that Maldonado would be taking most of the starts, and while he is the personal catcher to pitchers like Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke, Castro only has a connection with former Minnesota Twins teammate Jake Odorizzi and possibly Luis Garcia. This choice of who is starting definitely comes down to Manager Dusty Baker, and while the long-time manager is starting to adapt to the game, it would behoove him to split more time between the two.
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Castro is slashing .258/.395/.548 in only 38 plate appearances this season, while Maldonado is slumping at .091/.167/.136 in 72 plate appearances. I can promise you that, although Castro has only had half the chances, his production wouldn’t plummet anywhere near those numbers.
It’s not like Dustin Garneau and Garrett Stubbs are the team’s only options for a backup; they have a former All-Star catcher to split more of the workload. We saw Maldonado heavily overworked in 2020, but why keep that going now? Might be the bad hand of when right-handers or left-handers are pitching, but Castro has proven he can still swing the bat.
While personal catchers are something highlighted immensely in this subject, Castro should not be without a start in a whole series in relation to the three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays. It was expected to see Maldonado get most of the starts, but defense shouldn’t be an excuse, as both catchers are in the 92nd percentile in framing per Baseball Savant.