Juan Castro continues to be a major drag on the Reds offense. He is now hitting a miserable .169/.193/.229 for an OPS of .422!. He has struck out 21 out of 83 at bats(25%, and has walked 3 times all year. He also doesn’t see very many pitches per plate appearance, averaging 3.44 this year, among the lowest in MLB (http://rluzinski.blogspot.com/2007/06/pitches-per-plate-appearance.html) .
With RISP, his numbers drop to .087/.148/.130! An OPS with RISP of .278!!
I realize he is supposed to be a defensive whiz….and I agree he is fairly solid at shortstop. But all year he has a total of 34 fielding chances at short….and been part of 4 double plays. At second base, Castro has 2 errors in 13 fielding chances. At 3rd he has 1 error in 17 chances. Overall, basically half way through the year, Castro has a total of 64 fielding chances and has made 3 errors….not exactly gold glove material.
Keppinger has mainly been a 2nd baseman in pro ball. He has played some third also. However, in high school and college he played shortstop. See this interesting interview with Keppinger.
In Louisville, Keppinger has been great at getting on base. He is hitting .363/.417/.471 in slightly over 200 ABs. He has 12 Ks, and 20 BBs. He was named to the AAA all-star team last week. He has had 2.5 times as many at bats in AAA as Castro has in MLB, and has far fewer Ks, and 7 times more walks.
Castro is now 35, and going nowhere, Keppinger is 27, and could be a useful player for several years to come. Given that this season is basically lost, why not chop some dead wood and bring up guy who could be a part of the puzzle next year? Some say that we are paying Castro too much money to DFA him. Well either we pay him, and have him take up a valuable roster spot with terrible results, or we pay him and let Keppinger move up to get more MLB experience for next year.
If we need to give Alex Gonzalez a day off, either Keppinger could do it, or Brandon Phillips could slide over for the day. Soon I expect Ryan Freel will return, and he can also fill-in at short.
The Reds simply cannot afford to continue to carry Juan Castro.