Should the Cubs trade Starlin Castro is now the big question this off season. Shortstops typically are the worst hitters of all non-pitching positions so finding one who can even bat at an average player level is a plus for any team. The table below lists the top 15 shortstops according to this data model. Note that the weighting factor this model produces is for batting only. Fielding is a different class object.
As always the first column shows MLB total rank amongst both batters and pitchers. There are 27 other players with better WAAs than Troy Tulowitzki. Ranking maxes out at 300 so a rank of X means that player sits in purgatory between the top 300 and the bottom 300. No one wants to make the bottom 300 list.
Here is Starlin Castro’s career up to the beginning of the 2014 season.
Starlin Castro 2010-2013
Career WAA BAT Value = -8.1
Career WAA Ranking Score = -479
He had a very bad 2013 and was the worst batter in the league. Much of this had to do with a manager who insisted on making Castro lead off so he kept racking up more unproductive plate appearances than had he batted near the end of the order or sat out a bunch of games. Castro batted above average with a WAA=0.4 in 2014 so that helps mitigate his overall career negative value.
Here is what WAR thinks of him.
Career WAR BAT Value = 7.4
Career WAR Ranking Score = 259
WAR is a forgiving stat and even though Castro led the league in errors (last column) and giving up unearned runs, it still valued him quite high. We covered WAA vs. WAR valuation systems with an analysis of the 2013 season here. In 2013 even WAR had to drop him into negative territory. The RISP column is runs above average in Runners In Scoring Position situations. Castro led the league in having the highest negative in this category.
If the Cubs look at this model there is no question as to the risk in keeping Castro around since he has demonstrated very high negative value in his career. If a buyer, like the New York Mets, come along looking at Castro’s WAR numbers then maybe they will give away some decent talent in exchange for the Cubs’ mitigating some of the risk involved in keeping Castro on the roster.