Jason Castro Gives LA Angels Elite Lineup From Top to Bottom
By Vincent Page
After it seemed like the LA Angels were going to simply watch the entire catching market dry up, they finally got their guy in Jason Castro.
Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, the LA Angels and Castro agreed to a one-year, $6.85 million deal. This essentially rounds out the Angels’ roster, as catching was the last hole that needed to be addressed (other than the obvious: starting pitching).
Last season, Castro broke out at the plate. He proved himself as one of the marquee offensive catchers, especially against right-handed pitchers. He now joins Max Stassi (assuming he’s ready come Opening Day) in the Angels’ catchers’ room, and creates a natural lefty-righty platoon.
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With this signing, it brings some clarity to the Angels as well. Anthony Bemboom was the only other catcher alongside Stassi, and his 54 career at-bats weren’t overly impressive. Additionally, with Stassi and Castro in tow, the Angels have two of the best framing catchers in baseball. Both of the catchers have reputations as solid all-around defensive catchers, continuing the Angels’ philosophy of a defensive-minded team.
The real story here is what this does for the offense in Anaheim. Castro graded out as an elite hitter, especially for a catcher. 2019 saw him hit the ball harder than he ever had, and it translated at the plate big time. His cumulative stats aren’t that impressive due to him only playing in 79 games, but his advanced stats are overwhelming.
On days when Castro is slotted to be the ninth hitter, the Angels will boast one of the best lineups in the entire league. He’ll face mostly right-handed pitchers – giving him the bulk of the workload – and Castro is likely worth the $6.85 million even if he only plays 85-90 games.
The Angels had a great lineup before this signing, as their position players graded out as a top five group. The addition of Castro to platoon with Stassi makes the catching position a strength rather than simply average. On top of that, it gives the Angels a lineup that, from top to bottom, can compete day in and day out with every other offense in the MLB.