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Fabio Castro For Fifth Starter?

Reading today’s pieces about the Phillies, I noticed both Phil Sheridan and Paul Hagen (commentators, not beat writers, mind you) both mentioned Fabio Castro’s fine performance against the Rays yesterday (3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and alluded to the 22-year-old lefty as a candidate for fifth starter.

That grabbed me as ridiculous and preposterous. But on second thought, could he be a candidate?

For his Minor League career, Castro has only started 13 games. He did start a game for the Phillies last season, but it was more of a “relief-by-committee” start — a game that occurs usually once each year for each team. Of course, in that start he gave up only one run on two hits in five innings; however, he walked six.

As a reliever last season, his ERA jumped much higher as he gave up a run for every inning he pitched (7 in 7). He also walked a batter for every inning. But the statistic that jumped out at me most was his lefty-righty split, and while it’s a small sample, it’s very telling:

vs. RHB: 36 PA / 8 H / 7 R / 9 BB / 6 K / .296 AVG
vs. LHB: 20 PA / 1 H / 0 R / 4 BB / 8 K / .063 AVG

To show that’s not unusual, in 2006, Castro gave up just two hits and four walks in 32 appearances against lefties while giving up 16 hits and nine walks in 93 appearances against righties.

That tells me Castro would make a perfect LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) for 2008. Forget turning him into a starter, if that was even a notion. Castro shouldn’t and couldn’t be a candidate for fifth starter; no, Castro should be your leading LOOGY candidate at the moment.

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