Thursday, August 11, 2022

Astros place Jason Castro on IL, promote former first-round pick Korey Lee for MLB debut

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USATSI

The Houston Astros announced several roster moves ahead of their game Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels, including two that involved the catcher position. Veteran backstop Jason Castro has been placed on the injured list because of left knee discomfort, and former first-round pick Korey Lee has been promoted to the majors. Lee will be making his big-league debut whenever he makes his first appearance. (Left-handed reliever Blake Taylor was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day injured list in another corresponding move; Taylor has been out with elbow discomfort.)

Lee, who will celebrate his 24th birthday in late July, was the 32nd pick in the 2019 draft. He’s spent all of this season at the Triple-A level, where he’s batted .226/.285/.419 with 10 home runs. Lee’s game is predicated on the strength he possesses in his arm and in his bat. Unfortunately, there are concerns about his offensive ceiling based on his proneness to strikeouts (27 percent this season) and his refusal to walk (less than seven percent). He figures to serve in a timeshare capacity alongside Martín Maldonado during Castro’s absence. 

Castro, 35, is in the second of a two-year contract. He’s been one of the worst hitters in the majors this season, amassing a .115/.205/.179 slash line (13 OPS+) and 40 strikeouts in 88 plate appearances. His framing has been graded as being below average to date, according to Statcast’s calculations. That combination has led pundits to speculate that the Astros could be in the market for catching help this deadline.

Castro is the second Astros hitter to be placed on the IL recently, joining outfielder Michael Brantley. The Astros remain without pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Jake Odorizzi as well. Those losses haven’t kept the Astros from an 11 ½ game lead over the Texas Rangers and the rest of the American League West.

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