| Detroit Free Press
Watch: Detroit Tigers introduce AJ Hinch as manager
Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch and GM Al Avila introduce new manager AJ Hinch, Oct. 30, 2020.
Detroit Tigers shortstop Willi Castro had quite the rookie season.
In 36 games, the 23-year-old hit .349 with six home runs and 24 RBIs. However, his production wasn’t enough to make him an American League Rookie of the Year finalist, as voted on and then released Monday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The three finalists are Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert, Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis and Houston Astros right-hander Cristian Javier. The winner will be announced at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 on MLB Network.
Castro made his season debut Aug. 12 and finished with a .318 on-base percentage and .550 slugging percentage. After a .314 batting average in 11 games in August, the switch-hitter increased his offensive production in September. Through 25 games that month, he had a .362 batting average with four of his six homers.
There were two reasons why Castro may have missed the cut. First, he didn’t compete in the majors for a full season. While each player is being evaluated based on a shortened campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Castro only played 36 of his team’s 58 games.
Also, Castro made five errors in 85 chances at shortstop.
Although Lewis and Robert were considered locks to become finalists, Castro seemed likely to sneak in as the third member of the group. Instead, that spot seems to have gone to Javier, who pitched in 12 games (10 starts) for the Astros.
Javier, 23, had a 3.48 ERA and 0.994 WHIP with 54 strikeouts and 18 walks in 54⅓ innings. Robert, 23, registered a .233 batting average with 11 homers and 31 RBIs, but he had a .302 on-base percentage in his 56 games. Lewis, 25, hit .262 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs through 58 games.
Castro did not pick up rookie status in 2019, with only had 100 at-bats over 30 games. Last season, he hit .230 with one homer and eight RBIs. He is expected to open the 2021 season as a starter in the infield, but the organization has considered giving him reps in the outfield.
The Tigers acquired Castro in a July 2018 trade with the Cleveland Indians. He came to Detroit in exchange for outfielder Leonys Martin and right-hander Kyle Dowdy.