Monday, September 05, 2005

Fidelity to Casto

As noted over at Nationals Farm Authority, the organization appears set on converting Potomac third baseman Kory Casto to second base---or at least attempting the conversion in the upcoming Dominican Instructional League. (The move is a sign that third base is once again regarded as the sole projected spot for Ryan "Z Man the He Man"* Zimmerman.)

Casto turns 24 in December, and he's yet to face a pitcher at the Double-A level; thus, I'm rather skeptical of his strong production (.288/.391/.501) at High-A Potomac. Perceiving him as a touch or two too old for his level (as many Nats' position player prospects are) is probably a knee-jerk reaction, and maybe I shouldn't be making it. I've never seen Casto play, but if Baseball America's review of him is to be trusted, concern should be leveled at Casto's defense, not his bat. From BA's 2005 Prospect Handbook:

. . . If Casto reaches the big leagues, it will be on the strength of his bat. . . . There are scouts who question whether Casto can even become an average defensive third baseman. His hands are stiff, his feet are heavy, and he lacks instincts. . . .If Casto doesn't figure at third base, he may have enough bat for left or right field.

Keep in mind that essentially a full season has transpired since this review was published, and maybe it was ill-considered in the first place. Who knows? Hopefully, the organization knows more about Casto's defensive abilities than a publication (even a respected one like BA). Regardless, let us hope that the alleged stiff hands and heavy feet no longer figure into an evaluation of Casto's defense, because such characteristics would not tend to mix well with the keystone.

I suspect---but I don't know, of course---that a successful switch to second base would be Casto's surest route to the majors. He's blocked at third base, of course, and I'm not sure we can project his bat to an outfield corner.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves; as noted, Casto hasn't even unpackaged his bags at Double-A yet.

* Makes "Dutch" sound positively inspired, doesn't it?

Jesus, let's just accept "Zimms" if it's going to come to that.
It's a fiendish plan by the anti-Dutchites to lower the nickname bar so far that the rest of us just throw our hands in the air and say, "Okay, 'Zimm' is fine."
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