- Full name Kory C. Casto
- Born 12/08/1981 in Salem, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Portland
- Debut 04/03/2007
Drafted in the 3rd round (87th overall) by the Washington Nationals in 2003 (signed for $410,000).
View Draft ReportOF Kory Casto may be the best everyday prospect in the West Coast Conference, but he's drawn mixed interest. His only above-average tool is his bat. He's a disciplined lefthanded hitter who has holes in his swing and whose power is gap to gap.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Casto entered 2007 with a tentative grasp on the Nationals' starting left-field job, but he struggled out of the gate and lost his regular playing time. When he got another brief chance to play every in early May, he went 1-for-20 and was sent down to Triple-A. An outfielder in college who was converted to third base in 2004 and then moved back to the outfield after the 2006 all-star break out of respect for Ryan Zimmerman, Casto wound up back at the hot corner with Columbus. The position shuffle and demotion prevented him from ever getting into a rhythm in 2007, and he hit for his lowest average since his pro debut. One problem is that Casto was feeling for his stride, rushing to get his front foot down and losing leverage as a result. In the past, he had shown average power and the ability to use all fields. He always has been a patient hitter, but Washington would like to see him get more aggressive instead of waiting for the perfect pitch. His slightly above-average arm plays at third base or the outfield, though his speed and range are fringy. His future might now be as a utility player, but he could get another shot at the Opening Day left-field job in 2008.
An outfielder in college, Casto moved to third base in 2004 and gradually became a very solid defender there. But when Ryan Zimmerman seized the Nationals' hot-corner job, they decided to move Casto back to the outfield after the 2006 all-star break. He had another solid year with the bat and continued to hit in the Arizona Fall League, despite missing three weeks for his wedding and honeymoon. A mature, disciplined hitter, Casto rarely chases pitches out of the zone and excels at working counts. He has average power and can use the whole field, and he's not afraid to jump on hanging breaking balls or high fastballs early in the count. He had no problem getting reacquainted with the outfield, where his arm is slightly above-average and his range is fringy. Casto has always been a streaky hitter because he'll fall into the trap of making too many adjustments at times. He's an extremely hard worker, but sometimes his drive to succeed gets the better of him. With the departure of Alfonso Soriano via free agency, Casto should have a chance to earn Washington's left-field job. He should be a solid everyday player capable of hitting 20 homers per year.
Casto's prospect status jumped when he converted from the outfield to third base and had a solid offensive year in 2004. Now his star is even brighter after he made more strides on offense while vastly improving his defense, which was voted the best in the high Class A Carolina League by managers. Casto's bat remains his best tool, as he hits for power and average and uses all fields. He showed much better pitch selection in 2005, nearly tripling his walk total from the previous season. Defensively, he's solid coming in on slow rollers, making backhand plays and starting double plays. His slightly above-average arm became more accurate after he changed his arm slot. Casto still needs to work a bit on his first step at third base. He's a very streaky hitter who can get into funks when he tries to make too many adjustments after an 0-for-4 day. He needs to relax. With Ryan Zimmerman entrenched at third base, the Nationals planned to experiment with Casto at second base in the offseason. His bat should play in the big leagues even if Zimmerman pushes him to the outfield. Casto should play third base in Double-A in 2006.
Drafted as an outfielder, Casto made his lackluster pro debut at that position. The Expos moved him to third base in 2004 and in his third game there, he took a grounder off his left eye. He missed two weeks and lost his confidence after he returned. His bat eventually came around, but he made 35 errors in 112 games. If Casto reaches the big leagues, it will be on the strength of his bat. He's a good gap hitter with blossoming home run power. Early in the year, he struggled against breaking balls, particularly from lefthanders, but he made adjustments and began driving the ball consistently. He shows a strong arm at third base. Coaches and scouts rave about his work ethic and desire. There are scouts who question whether Casto can become even an average defensive third baseman. His hands are stiff, his feet are heavy and he lacks instincts. He needs to shorten his arm action to make quicker throws across the diamond. Offensively, he needs to learn to work counts better. If Casto doesn't figure out third base, he may have enough bat for left or right field. He likely will begin 2005 at Potomac.
Minor League Top Prospects
Before Gomez turned the corner and Ellsbury and Alexi Casilla joined the EL, Lind, Casto and Kouzmanoff were by far the EL's best hitters. Casto owned the league's best strike-zone judgment and his patient approach borders on overkill. He rarely swings early in the count, even when he receives hittable pitches. Casto's swing is short, balanced and flat. He uses the entire field and has above-average power. The Nationals played him at both third base and left field this year, and it's unclear where he'll wind up. His speed is below average but his arm strength is solid. "I loved the bat," a scout said. "I see him as a run producer in the middle of the lineup, a Joe Randa-type player for a long time."
Coming into this season, Casto was considered a below-average defender at third base, a position he began playing only in 2004. But he was the CL's most improved defensive infielder this year, as his actions, footwork and throws all took a huge step forward. He's at least average with the glove now, though his positioning, angles and reactions still can get better. Casto still has the bat that has been his calling card. He showed more power than ever before, setting career highs in both doubles and homers. He showed the ability to shorten his stroke and use the whole field, though some scouts worry about a slight uppercut that can creep into his swing.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Washington Nationals in 2007
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Eastern League in 2006
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Washington Nationals in 2006
- Rated Best Defensive 3B in the Carolina League in 2005