Scout's Take: Starlin Castro's Bat Is Legit
The 20-year-old Castro is different than most prospects that come up around his age. He's not the typical toolsy player that arrives with raw skill alone. Know this about Castro -- he can really swing the bat. He's going to be a solid shortstop, and he can run the bases, but nothing leaps out at you the way his bat will.
Upon getting my first look at Castro last year in the Florida State League, I came away tremendously impressed with how well he handled the bat. He shows the ability to drive the ball to all fields and adjusts well to off-speed pitches. Castro is not just a mistake hitter and can hang with tough breaking pitches.
In other words, he has an advanced feel and control with the bat. Minor league batting averages aren't exactly a great way of evaluating a prospect, but in Castro's case, his .376 average in 2010 is indicative of just what kind of an advanced hitter he is.
Will he have an adjustment period at the dish in the big leagues? Of course, but he will not be overmatched. The righty hitting shortstop has above-average bat speed, hits from a balanced lower-half base and uses his hands exceptionally well in his swing. He's going to adapt quickly to MLB pitching.
There's not a lot of lift in his swing currently, so I wouldn't expect big power numbers in the near future. But he does hit the ball with a lot of thump so he will hit a lot of doubles into the gap and in time I expect the home run numbers to come.
Frankie Piliere spent the last three seasons working as a scout, most recently in the professional scouting department for the Texas Rangers in 2009. He now serves as the National Baseball Analyst here at FanHouse.