Monday, June 15, 2015

Starlin Castro temporarily silences critics

The Cubs had another great week, splitting two games in Detroit while finally getting me that blowout win before taking three of four from the Reds at home. Although Anthony Rizzo is slumping, Kris Bryant is currently enjoying an 11-game hitting streak, and the pitching staff has been great recently.

Still, the undeniable hero of the weekend was Starlin Castro, whose walk-off hits have won the last two games. While I'm sure we'll continue to hear about Castro trade rumors, I'm still hoping the team decides to keep him around. I know about the mental errors and the fact that his numbers are currently down. But I believe he's going to bounce back, possibly starting now after those two big games.

Castro may not ever win an MVP award or even a batting title, but he does have a place in this team and in this lineup. Maybe he eventually settles in the 6th or 7th slot, particularly after Kyle Schwarber arrives. That's fine. Either way, Castro is capable of getting a base hit at any time off of any pitcher, and that is a valuable asset.

Castro entered the league with such high potential that his critics now see him as an underachiever, which is kind of absurd. The only thing that matters to me is whether or not the team can win with him at shortstop. And I sincerely believe the Cubs can win with Castro and that he can contribute to winning teams.

In fact, Castro's numbers would be fine on many past winning teams. Just to pick a year, I went back 30 years to 1985. I pulled the season's best shortstops and the shortstops from the best teams, just to see where Castro's numbers would fit in. As I guessed, he would be somewhere in the middle. He's no Cal Ripken, but he'd be far from the worst.

As the 2015 Cubs get set to host the Cleveland Indians tonight, and Castro hopefully continues to stay hot, here is a look at shortstop stats from 1985 to give us some perspective.

Cal Ripken, Baltimore (AL All-Star and Silver Slugger) - 26 HR, 110 RBI, .282 avg, .347 OBP, .816 OPS

Hubie Brooks, Montreal (NL Silver Slugger) - 13 HR, 100 RBI, .269 avg, .310 OBP, .723 OPS

Tony Fernandez, Toronto (Played in ALCS) - 2 HR, 51 RBI, .289 avg, .340 OBP, .730 OPS

Ozzie Smith, St. Louis (Won NLCS, played in World Series) - 6 HR, 54 RBI, .276 avg, .355 OBP, .716 OPS

Mariano Duncan, Los Angeles (Played in NLCS) - 6 HR, 39 RBI, .244 avg, .293 OBP, .633 OPS

Onix Concepcion, Kansas City (Won World Series) - 2 HR, 20 RBI, .204 avg, .255 OBP, .500 OPS


Starlin Castro, 2014 (last full season) - 14 HR, 65 RBI, .292 avg, .339 OBP, .777 OPS

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