Washington Nationals: Starlin Castro giving something to believe in

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Starlin Castro #14 of the Washington Nationals in action against the Houston Astros during a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 23, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Starlin Castro #14 of the Washington Nationals in action against the Houston Astros during a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 23, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals are going to miss Anthony Rendon, but Starlin Castro is giving them hope for the coming season.

There is no question that the Washington Nationals will feel the absence of Anthony Rendon in their lineup. He had developed into a superstar, a key piece in the Nationals run to the championship last season. His .319/412/.598  batting line, with 34 homers, and a league leading 44 doubles and 126 RBI, will be difficult to replace in the middle of the batting order.

The Nationals’ moves to replace him were fairly underwhelming. Although they had attempted to sign Josh Donaldson, Washington moved on, inking Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera. Howie Kendrick was also brought back, presumably to fill a utility role, but as depth at third if needed.

At this point, the Nationals will need to find someone that can step up and help make up for Rendon’s departure. While it is early in Spring Training, Castro is giving the team something to believe in when it comes to his bat.

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Last season was a disappointment for the former All Star. While Castro produced a career best 22 homers and 86 RBI, his .270/.300/.436 batting line was worth just a 94 OPS+. However, while Castro was ice cold in the first half of the season, his bat came alive from July onward. Over his final 80 games, he produced a .313/.344/.565 batting line, hitting 17 homers and 21 doubles.

If Castro can replicate that torrid stretch, then the Nationals would not miss Rendon in the lineup. For Castro’s part, he believes that success in the second half is sustainable, pointing to changes he made to his swing and approach that led to his breakthrough. And, playing meaningful games once more could be a major factor.

Of course, that is a giant if. The Nationals, while hoping that Castro can replace at least a majority of Rendon’s performance, did not exactly spend much for his services. His two year, $12 million contract would be respectable if he struggled and lost his spot in the lineup, becoming more of a utility infielder than a starter.

Nationals have no reason to stop dancing. dark. Next

The Washington Nationals feel that Starlin Castro can be the piece they need to replace Anthony Rendon. If his second half success can carry over, he may just be that needed piece.