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Starlin Castro is on a Roll

June 24th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

'Cubs vs. Braves 4-7-2013' photo (c) 2012, Doug Anderson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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.

'Starlin Castro' photo (c) 2014, buzbeto - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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

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