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Monday, September 21, 2020

Dorktown: Send Luis Castillo’s 2000 season to Hollywood

In 2000, the average Major League player drove in about 0.125 runs per plate appearance. Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins drove in about 0.072 runs per … hit. That’s right — in a year where he broke Jeff Conine’s then-franchise record for single-season hits, Castillo parlayed 180 of ’em into just 13 RBI.

In other words, you can pick out of a hat any of MLB’s 189,635 plate appearances from that season not taken by Castillo, and it would be expected to generate nearly twice as much run production as the average hit by Florida’s second baseman in 2000.

Now, his RBI total was a bit higher than 13, as he did drive in four runs on groundouts, giving him 17 RBI overall for the season.

So. 180 hits. 17 RBI. Trust me when I tell you that that deserves to be broken down and dissected in every way conceivable.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:48 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: luis castillo

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   1. SoSH U at work Posted: September 21, 2020 at 11:25 PM (#5978000)
Neat, though he ignores one factor that contributed to his total. Apparently 1/3 of his hits were to the infield, the kind you don't get when there are runners on base.
   2. Jaack Posted: September 22, 2020 at 12:35 AM (#5978004)
Castillo scored 101 runs that year, so his ratio of RBI to runs was a stunning .168. That's got to be a modern record for a qualified player.

His career rate of RBI to runs is pretty impressive too - .443. That's extremely low for a modern player of a decent career length. Since WWII, it looks like Brett Butler (.425) and Maury Wills (.429) are the only guys with 1000 runs scored and a lower ratio. Richie Ashburn is in a virtual tie with Castillo. Going back further, the only three guys I can find below .400 are Max Bishop at .392, Arlie Latham at .381, and the all time king, Donie Bush at .342(!).
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 22, 2020 at 08:02 AM (#5978012)
Apparently 1/3 of his hits were to the infield, the kind you don't get when there are runners on base.
Were they all bunt singles?
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: September 22, 2020 at 08:48 AM (#5978014)
Were they all bunt singles?


Some combination of bunts and groundballs to the left side he beat out, with perhaps a few squibbers to the right side and balls knocked down but not ruled an error thrown in.
   5. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 22, 2020 at 09:26 AM (#5978019)
It's really hard to have a career OBP higher than your SLG, but Castillo and Butler both managed to do it. Fun players.
   6. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: September 22, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5978029)
Over Luis Castillo's career, there were 5 perfect games pitched in the major leagues. I was witness to a feat more rare than those perfect games when I saw Luis Castillo hit one of his 3 career homeruns while batting lefthanded against Jose Rijo at this game. He crushed it too, as I recall.
   7. The Mighty Quintana Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:24 PM (#5978065)
Well, he did bat behind Alex Gonzalez (.229 OBP!) and the pitchers.....
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5978066)
Well, he did bat behind Alex Gonzalez (.229 OBP!) and the pitchers.....


That's mentioned in the article, but that doesn't fully explain the flukiness of the season.
   9. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5978068)
can i just say:

#### juan pierre.

*edit* and luis castillo, too, obviously.
   10. Booey Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5978070)
Remember when different players used different approaches to batting (and pitching) and everyone's numbers didn't look exactly the same? Good times.

(And yes, GOML while you're at it)
   11. Booey Posted: September 22, 2020 at 04:02 PM (#5978072)
Honestly, a regular (626 PA's) hitting a mere 2 HR nowadays seems just as whackadoodle as one racking up only 17 rbi.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: September 22, 2020 at 04:11 PM (#5978074)
can i just say:

#### juan pierre.

*edit* and luis castillo, too, obviously.


Why? Were you rooting for the Yankees?
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 22, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5978076)
Some combination of bunts and groundballs to the left side he beat out, with perhaps a few squibbers to the right side and balls knocked down but not ruled an error thrown in.
Yep, sounds like a compelling movie. Green light that screenplay!
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5978079)
With men on base that season, Castillo batted .217 with a .237 slugging percentage. With RISP, he batted .211 with a .211 SLG. You read that correctly, he had *zero* extra base hits with RISP.

With the bases empty, he batted .380 with a .447 SLG.

I'm sure that explains much of the disconnect between his hits and RBI total in 2000. For his career overall, the splits are much more normal.

To SOSH's point, 1/3 of hits being to the infield also seems very high. Not sure what is normal for speedy leadoff hitters, but for his career Castillo was at 28%, while Ichiro was at 23% and Juan Pierre was at 24%. Jason Tyner (a guy who came to mind as having no HR power during his brief career) was at 24%. So yeah, 33% is very high.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: September 22, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5978103)
Yep something of an all-time favorite player because of how massive the mismatch was between Castillo and the way everybody else hit in those days. Talk about a guy who took full advantage of the few things he did well (run, field) and found a way to make it work. Unlike some speedsters, he took his walks.

In that sense he's also an example that proves that pitchers can't (or won't) ease off on a batter with no power and "just throw strikes." Nobody had anything to fear from Castillo, no need to nibble and pitchers still couldn't get it over the plate often enough. He also thereby is "proof" that somebody like Juan Pierre was a bit of a hacker going after pitches outside the zone, not just a guy pitchers knew they could challenge (before we even get to extremes like Ozzie Guillen). Castillo only had 323 career PA in the #8 spot so he wasn't getting walked to get to the pitcher.

As further exploration of "WTF were teams thinking" ... with -2-, Caastillo's line was 255/384/308. He walked about 16% of the time (only 5 IBB). In that scenario, he had 123 hits and drove the runner in only 53 times (between IF hits and the fact the OF could play so shallow).

But then, with --3, he put up this line: 394/445/494 (look at the power!!) with a BABIP of 418 -- I suppose they had to play in to guard against the squeeze and/or hoping to get the runner at the plate on a weak grounder but even --3, 2 outs, he hit 361 and he's credited with just one sac for --3). At -23, he replicated that 16% walk rate but hit just 206.

As a very minor WTF, Castillo had one career start in the #3 slot in the lineup.

Anyway, if your kid is small but fast, point them to Luis Castillo as a model.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: September 22, 2020 at 07:05 PM (#5978116)
In that sense he's also an example that proves that pitchers can't (or won't) ease off on a batter with no power and "just throw strikes." Nobody had anything to fear from Castillo, no need to nibble and pitchers still couldn't get it over the plate often enough. He also thereby is "proof" that somebody like Juan Pierre was a bit of a hacker going after pitches outside the zone, not just a guy pitchers knew they could challenge (before we even get to extremes like Ozzie Guillen). Castillo only had 323 career PA in the #8 spot so he wasn't getting walked to get to the pitcher.


No it doesn't prove the second thing at all.

Being a low-power, high-walk player is typically going to require three important traits - great plate discipline, exceptional patience and the ability to foul pitches off. Wade Boggs was obviously the prototype here in my baseball watching existence.

First, you have to have great command of the strike zone, not chasing anything outside. But that's not enough. You also have to be willing to not just take balls, but take strikes. If you swing at too many strikes, the plate appearance will end before you get a chance to see Ball 4. And you need to have some skill fighting off 2-strike pitches.

That doesn't mean low-walk, low-power guys are hackers. Juan Pierre, per Fangrpahs, was not particularly notable for swinging at pitches outside the zone. He was near the middle of the pack (which is too low for a hitter of his type, but under no reasonable definition would it make him a hacker).

Pierre had exceptional contact skills and a willingness to swing at strikes (and the occasional ball). That, more than anything, made him a low-walk hitter. During his playing days, no one was better at putting the ball in play on a pitch he offered at.

This is also a big reason Tony Gwynn walked far less often than Boggs.

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