Has there ever been a time when you were doing a puzzle and the pieces just wouldn’t fit? You move the piece around, different positions and still nothing. Well, that’s how the Chicago Cubs felt in 2013 when it came to Starlin Castro. 2013 was Castro’s worst season so far as a professional, and the Cubs spent most of the season scratching their heads. The Cubs spent most of last season trying to fix his see-ball, hit-ball approach in favor of a more selective approach, and had disastrous results. Last season Castro put up a line of: .245/.284/.347 and struck out 129 times. Castro has already been a two-time All-Star before he even turned 23 years old, but after a disastrous 2013 some have forgotten how talented this young player is and can be.
Under new manager Rick Renteria, Castro hasn’t just returned to his old self, he has actually just became a better version, with some added pop. He has already knocked 11 home runs. His career high is 14. He has already driven in 43 RBI, with his career high being 78. He is also on pace to set career high in doubles and slugging percentage. Castro already has 775 career hits. He’s on pace to record 106 more this season and could potentially join elite company at the ripe old age of 24. Only 20 players in major-league history have had at least 850 hit through their age 24 season. Some of those names include Ty Cobb, Ken Griffey Jr., Robin Yount, Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle, just to name a few.
Starlin Castro is on pace to make his third All-Star team this coming July. The only other NL shortstop that is better than him is Troy Tulowitzki, who will most certainly start the game. The only other argument you make have in the NL is Hanley Ramirez, but Castro has the edge on Ramirez when comes to most hitting categories. Even if Starlin Castro does not make the All-Star game, he is more than proving that last year was just a bad year and proving that he is also one of the many young pieces that the Cubs can confidently build around.
With all that being said, what a difference a year makes.