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1/15/08 Has Kory Casto Missed His Chance In DC?

     I know it might seem silly to ask this question about a twenty-six year old outfielder who has been given just 16 games in the Major Leagues with Washington to prove he can play, but if you consider the fact that two of the three projected starting outfielders for the Nationals in 2008, (Wily Mo Pena, 26 today! and Lastings Milledge, 23 in April) are younger than Kory Casto, with twenty-seven year-old Austin Kearns entrenched in right, plus Elijah Dukes, (24 in June) and twenty-four year-old Justin Maxwell waiting in the wings, you might begin to wonder...Has Kory Casto, the 3rd Round Montreal Expos' Draft Pick from 2003, missed his chance in DC?

     Selected with the 87th pick of the '03 Draft, Casto had just completed two seasons at the University of Portland, where he'd hit for 24 HR's and 103 RBI's in 104 games with a .330 AVG overall. (And was 1-0 on the mound). After hitting just .239 in his first 71-game stint with the Nationals Class-A affiliate in Vermont, Casto started his second season in Savannah, with the Class-A Sand Gnats, where Casto hit .286 in 124 games, during which he collected 35 doubles, 16 HR's and 88 RBI's in 483 AB's.

     Having switched to third base with Savannah after starting out professionally in the outfield, Casto hit .290 at third in 2005 with the newly-named Nationals' Class-A Potomac team, but the selection of Ryan Zimmerman and his meteoric rise forced Casto to move back to the left field, where he hit .271 with the Double-AA Harrisburg Senators with 20 HR's and 80 RBI's, held back only by Alfonso Soriano's spectacular '06 season in DC.

     Kory Casto's performance in Harrisburg in '06 found the IF/OF listed as the 4th prospect overall in Baseball America writer Aaron Fitt's assessment of the Nationals' system in the 1/12/07 "Top 10 Prospects" feature. With Alfonso Soriano's departure via free agency to Chicago, Casto found himself competing for the everyday spot in left going into Spring Training for the '07 season.

     But, according to mlb.com's writer Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Logan, Guzman to disabled list," from 4/3/07:

          "Casto was the last cut of Spring Training because Church
          and outfielder Chris Snelling were out of options. The only
          way Casto would have made the Opening Day roster was if
          (Nook) Logan started the season on the disabled list. On
          March 24, Logan suffered a strained right groin and was
          expected to be out two weeks, but he was back on the
          field in five days."

     Before he even appeared in a Minor League game, Casto was back in DC, after Logan injured himself on Opening Day. In his first month in the Majors, Casto hit just .182 with 1 double and 2 RBI's in 9 games and 33 at bats. Just one hit in 21 at bats in May, and Casto was sent back to Columbus, where he finished the '07 season with a .246 AVG, 11 HR's and 55 RBI's.

     Kory Casto was among the eight players the Nationals signed for 2008 last week. (Ross Detwiler, John Lannan, Garrett Mock, Chris Schroder, Josh Whitesell, Lastings Milledge and Matt Whitney were the other seven). And though Casto currently sits on the Nationals' 40-Man roster, he isn't even listed at any position on the washington.nationals.mlb.com depth chart which fairly accurately represents what most reports on the '08 roster so far say...

washington.nationals.mlb.com's 40-Man Roster:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=was

washington.nationals.mlb.com's Depth Chart:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/depth_chart/index.jsp?c_id=was

*"Has Cory Casto Missed His Chance In DC?" Links*

Kory Casto's stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/C/Kory-Casto.shtml

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's "Top 10 Prospects: Washington Nationals" at baseballamerica.com:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/263086.html

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Logan, Guzman to disabled list" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070403&content_id=1877394&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was