Cubs Rumors: Castellanos is a punisher of left-handed pitchers
As a team this season, Chicago has managed a measly .244 average – the third-lowest mark among National League clubs. They rank eighth in terms of OPS against southpaws, at a very middle-of-the-pack .777. A major part of those struggles have come in the form of the team’s outfielders.
Almora is in the midst of the worst offensive season of his career. Entering play Monday, the 25-year-old outfielder carries a 68 OPS+ and an absolutely brutal .275 on-base percentage. He does rank third among NL outfielders in terms of fielding percentage – something that hardly comes as a surprise to anyone, but his woes at the dish have essentially rendered his defense a wash in terms of overall value.
Against southpaws, the Cubs outfielder has been pretty much useless, slashing .207/.244/.293. Despite this fact, Joe Maddon continued to put him in the lineup against lefties during the team’s recent 7-2 homestand, opting for Almora over Schwarber.
Speaking of Schwarber, the slugging corner outfielder hasn’t lived up to the hype – at least not consistently. He’s managed just 0.2 WAR so far this year, according to Baseball Reference, hitting exactly .230 against both right and left-handers. The power has been there, as it always is, but you can’t help but think there’s more there than what we’re seeing.
As for Castellanos, where Schwarber and Almora come up short at the plate, he thrives. He’s pounded left-handed pitching this season to the tune of an 1.152 OPS. The thought of having him in there against lefties, helping protect the rest of the Cubs order is nothing short of dreamworthy at this point.
And it’s not like the Tigers outfielder only hits for average, either. On the year, Castellanos is tied for the league lead with 34 doubles. Last year, he hit .289 with 46 doubles, 23 home runs and five triples – playing half of his games in cavernous Comerica Park. Castellanos hitting in Wrigley might not only look enticing to the Cubs, but the outfielder himself as he looks to pad his stats ahead of the offseason.