October 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro (13) falls after striking out in the second inning against the New York Mets in game four of the NLCS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Lowrie was recently traded back to Oakland, so it seems his trade prospects aren’t great. For Houston, the infielder appeared in only 69 games as he was limited by injuries. His on-base suffered and declined to .312. However, Lowrie is consistently better than the norm with getting on base (.330 OBP over the past three seasons).
The durability problem is very legitimate considering that, as it stands, Alexi Amarista is the backup at short. But beyond questions over durability, it is again the defense that knocks this player out of contention. Lowrie’s range at short was only up to the league average since 2012 – no other season in his career. He has cost his teams runs at short over the course of his career. After a season off from the position, in his age 32 season, it is unlikely Lowrie would be a durable and solid defensive option.
He will turn 26 in March. He has sloppy mechanics and quite possibly a poor attitude that has gotten in the way of his superstar potential. After struggling in 2013, Castro rebounded for a good 2014 and proceeded to falter again through the start of 2015. After an August 6 game, Castro had a .236/.271/.304/.575 slashline. He was replaced at short by Addison Russell. Castro started at second base on August 11. It was a good move all around.
Castro took off as a second baseman almost completely salvaging his season at the plate. He ended the season with a .671 OPS. His defense at short had always been sloppy. Castro seemed lazy sometimes; his footwork was poor. But he was very good on the other side of second base.
Unfortunately, it seems that Castro needs to stay at second. He is clearly comfortable there and the Padres clearly don’t need another second baseman.
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In Baseball America’s 2016 top Padre prospects list, three shortstops make the top five. Jose Rondon at five; Ruddy Giron at four; and Javier Guerra at number one. MLB.com has Giron and Guerra being big league ready in 2018, Rondon in 2017. Relying on prospects is a major risk. But one of those three is likely to make it in the bigs.
The Padres strategy should be to put an average place-holder in to play a year or two before prospects start to take over the position.