Starlin Castro is somewhat of a puzzling ballplayer. Here we are five years into his career and most of us are still not sure what to think. When he first came up, back in 2010, many likened Castro to, then Marlins shortstop, Hanley Ramirez. But Castro grew to emulate Ramirez’s ability to hit for average and his lackadaisical attitude on defense rather than his 30-30 potential. But even then, Castro was still a superstar in the making. At just 21 he led the league in hits, 207, and showed signs of maturity.
But then 2012 happened.
First off, there was a wild overreaction to Castro’s .283 batting average; “What happened to Starlin?”, “We need to get him back on track!!” As if failing to hit .300 was the end of the world. But on top to that, Castro ran into a little trouble in the early months of 2012 involving a woman at a Chicago nightclub. Just when people were hoping this kid would hit his stride and become the face of the franchise that was so desperately needed, he displayed a huge lapse in judgment and maturity. Combine that with Castro’s disappointing 2013 campaign, and here we are with little idea as to what to expect next.
Castro has shown flashes of greatness, and at such a young age (he’s only 24), it’s hard not to get excited. He has proven he can hit .300, he’s been an all star twice, and he has good speed. But his mental errors on the defensive side of the ball are still an obstacle for the team has to deal with, he hasn’t yet replicated what he did at the plate in 2010 and 2011, and his inability to steal bases effectively has forced him to, essentially, stop trying (Castro has one steal in two attempts).
But Castro is still young. He still has a few years until he is “in his prime”, and being thrust into a leadership role, which he will be a year or two from now, has a way of speeding up the maturation process.
But more than anything, we need to be patient with Starlin Castro. Putting more pressure on the kid will do nothing but break him. Appreciate him for what he is, and use every failure as a teaching moment. The Chicago Cubs will be a winning team in the future, but until then, instead of ripping on Castro’s shortcomings, just sit back, relax, and be glad we’re not as obnoxious as Cardinal fans.
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