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Kory Casto

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2007 Fleer Ultra #241 Kory Casto

Kory Christopher Casto

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Kory Casto army.jpg

Kory Casto played two seasons for the Washington Nationals.

Casto hit .322/.386/.527 at the University of Portland as a freshman in 2002 and .338/.446/.637 as a junior in 2003. The Montréal Expos drafted Casto in the third round of the 2003 amateur draft, the 87th overall pick. He was signed by scout Doug McMillan for $410,000 and made his pro debut that summer.

Casto batted .239/.322/.355 in his pro debut with the 2003 Vermont Expos. He led outfielders in the New York-Penn League with three double plays. His offensive stats look better when you note that Vermont as a club hit just .215/~.284/.287.

With the Savannah Sand Gnats of 2004, the Oregonian burst out with a .286/.337/.474 line, 35 doubles, 16 homers and 88 RBI. He led the Expos minor leaguers in total bases (229) and doubles. Moved from the outfield to third base, though, he struggled mightily, fielding only .870 and leading the South Atlantic League with 35 errors at the position.

In 2005, Kory was noted as making strides defensively and was named the Washington Nationals minor league player of the year. He led the system in runs (86), walks (84) and RBI (90). Playing for the Potomac Cannons, his fielding percentage improved significantly to .956 and Baseball America even named him the best defensive third baseman in the Carolina League as he led the league in fielding percentage, double plays (39) and assists (271). Casto also hit 36 doubles and 22 home runs. Baseball America rated him the league's 15th-best prospect and Washington's #5 prospect and he made the All-Star team at third base.

Moving up to the Harrisburg Senators, Kory hit .272/.379/.468 with 84 runs, 80 RBI, 81 walks and 20 homers. Two troublesome points were his 104 strikeouts and his .189 average against southpaws. He moved back to the outfield during the season as Ryan Zimmerman was now the Nationals' third baseman for the indefinite future. Casto led the Nationals farm system in runs, hits (142), total bases (243), RBI, walks, OBP, slugging and extra-base hits (53). He tied Josh Whitesell for the team's affiliate's home run lead (21). Casto tied Kurt Airoso for the Eastern League lead in walks. Despite moving to the outfield for a chunk of the season, he still led EL third basemen in double plays (21). Casto was rated the EL's #14 prospect by Baseball America, one spot behind Kevin Kouzmanoff, and he made the league All-Star team in the outfield. He was named the EL Rookie of the Year. Baseball America says that he had the best strike-zone discipline in the EL. He also was named the Nationals Minor League Player of the Year once more.

Casto made his MLB debut on April 3, 2007 in the Nationals' 9-3 loss to the Florida Marlins. He picked up his first big league hit in that game. He only played 16 games as a rookie, however, batting only .130. The bulk of his season was spent with the AAA Columbus Clippers where he hit .246 in 114 games with 20 doubles and 11 homers. He was back at Columbus to start the 2008 season, but got a call back to Washington after he hit .308 with 6 homers in 33 games. With the Nats, he did better than in his first shot at The Show, but still only put up a very disappointing .215 average with 2 homers and 16 RBI in 66 games. In 2009, Casto played for the Syracuse Chiefs, who were now Washington's AAA affiliate. He got into 126 games and hit .271/.334/.378. That was not enough to get another look in the big leagues, and he became a free agent after the season.

Kory signed with the Detroit Tigers for 2010 but was released at the end of spring training. The Arizona Diamondbacks picked him up, but he was not even considered good enough for their AAA team; he was assigned to the AA Mobile Bay Bears, where he played 45 games, but his batting line continued to regress, this time to .251/.358/.431. On July 31st, seeing the writing on the wall, he announced his retirement.

Sources: 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, 2006 Harrisburg Senators program, Thebaseballcube.com

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