Chicago Cubs shortstop, Starlin Castro has put most of his critics to rest with his bounce-back performance this year. In his last ten games Castro is hitting .375 (15-40) with three home runs, 11 RBI and even a stolen base. We all hoped that Castro’s batting average would rebound this year and he has not disappointed, hitting .286 through yesterday’s action. But what has been a pleasant surprise is his surge in power. Castro has hit 11 home runs, 23 doubles and has 43 RBI’s in just 73 games; all of last season he hit 10 home runs, 34 doubles and had 44 RBI’s.
Castro looks like he’s on pace to shatter a number of career highs, particularly his personal best in home runs. Castro’s career high back came in 2012 when he hit 14. PETCOTA Projections has Castro hitting a total of 18 home runs this year and Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Castro is on pace for a 24 home run season. If Castro’s power really has developed (and this year isn’t a Jacoby Ellsbury fluke season) then the Cubs could be set to have a tenacious middle of the order for a long time to come. Imagine 45-50 combined home runs out of Castro and Anthony Rizzo year in and year out; couple that with the power potential that we are hoping to see from Kris Bryant and Javier Baez and that is one dangerous lineup.
And since we're on the subject of Starlin Castro’s success, kudos to Rick Renteria. Renteria was hired, in large part, to return Castro’s play to a high level and all signs indicate that he has succeeded.
The only part of Castro’s game that seems to be lacking this year is his stolen base total (he has 2 SB in 3 attempts, career high is 25). But that appears to be a conscious decision by Rick Renteria. So far the Cubs have only stolen 32 bases (in 73 games, per baseball-reference.com) and they have been caught stealing an incredible 23 times (58% success rate). In the “money ball” philosophy, stealing bases is a no-no, and conventional wisdom says that if you can’t steal above 75% then it’s not beneficial to your team. Whichever school of thought Renteria is coming from, it makes sense that he’s not giving runners the green light, which isn’t a bad thing. Fewer opportunities to run for Castro could mean less chance for injury, which is huge for a guy who the Cubs need and expect to play 160 games per year.Tags: Anthony Rizzo, Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, MLB, Rick Renteria, Starlin Castro