The New York Yankees made a much more conscientious effort to be better on the basepaths last year, and the guy that did that better than anyone is headed across town to Queens.
Tim Locastro is headed to the Mets on a minor-league deal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is able to crack the roster this season. We saw guys like Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Judge run the bases more than they ever had before, and they all learned that from the master of swiping bags.
TLo is one of the fastest players in baseball, as his consistent ranking in the 99th percentile for Sprint Speed would indicate. Though, he may not have had any easy path to carve out to make the roster this season. The Yankees have tons of talent trying to crack the 26-man, and I can see them using numerous young outfield studs to supplement left field.
For starters, Locastro is truly one of the best on the basepaths but doesn’t really provide much value elsewhere. As for some of the other guys that the team will be considering getting reps, Pereira, Dunham, Lockridge even, and others, they have more to their game that they can bring to the table.
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Yankees may miss Tim Locastro on the base-paths:
Locastro had his moments in Pinstripes, and despite never being known for having crazy pop, he was able to send a few of them into the seats last season. Despite only seeing 46 PA’s last year, he popped two HRs that gave the Yanks a boost they needed, and those 2 HRs are half as many as IKF hit, but he needed 485 more plate appearances to reach that mark. TLo posted just a 67 wRC+ last year, but those two longballs were easily some of the wildest moments on the season.
He posted a much more manageable 96 wRC+ with AAA Scranton, as he swiped seven bags and batted nearly 60 points higher on the year (.240 in AAA, .186 in the MLB).
Locastro’s spot was certainly one of the few that could’ve been up for grabs this offseason, and this move just confirms it. His speed is his biggest strength, and now the Mets will hope he can cause chaos on the basepaths and swipe some bags for them. Despite only seeing 46 PA’s last year, he was still utilized in 38 separate games, primarily as a pinch runner. Every time he came into the game on first, you knew that he’d be wiping off his thighs as he stood up over the second base bag in mere seconds.
Locastro’s certainly going to be missed, and the fact he was able to rehab his torn ACL with the organization makes me happy.
It showed class on the Yankees’ part that they were willing to keep his salary and let him man a roster spot in the minors. Back in November, Locastro elected to test free agency instead of being outrighted to AAA, and now he gets his newest opportunity. The Mets will likely use him in the same way the Yanks did, but his wheels will certainly cause problems for any opposing team trying to gameplan.