Apr 8, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs' Starlin Castro may be returning to his old self at the plate


Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

While the Chicago Cubs as a team have not gotten out off to fast start in their first nine games (3-6), one of their most important young players for the organization’s future has and seems to be finding his groove. Through nine games, Starlin Castro appears to be driving the ball hard and working himself into great hitter`s counts after he went 0-for-9 at the plate in the Opening series in Pittsburgh.

The return to Wrigley Field brought a revitalized Castro, who hit .500 with 12 hits over the six game homestand. He also showed impressive defensive range. Castro is attacking with a game plan in these first several games and it has resulted in a .342/.359/.526 slash line for the starting shortstop.

Castro’s relatively new approach has the Cubs remembering the pre-2013 days when Castro would find a great pitch to hit – no matter the count – and just rip it anywhere on the diamond, leading to three more hits in the Pirates series finale Thursday afternoon.

Castro has certainly been doing just that as he accumulated three multi-hit games in his last five, including a two home run game in a Cubs’ 7-6 loss. Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria even recently dropped him down to the six spot in the lineup.

When you separate yourself from that and you’re not part of that first inning that’s not working well … you’re a little separated from that failure,” Renteria said about hitting Castro lower in the order. “Sometimes you do that just to give him a chance to sit back and watch everyone work in front of him a little bit. That’s all

Defensively, he continues to showcase his athleticism and benefit from Gold Glove winning teammate Darwin Barney‘s leadership in the field. His progression on the field is a far cry from his lackadaisical play in 2013.

If the Cubs indeed do have a Castro from when he first came up, he could potentially give Chicago several options going forward. With a well-documented group of infield prospects, a .300 hitting Castro could open up the possibility to deal with a surplus of talent in the infield that could be dealt for the organization’s biggest need – young pitching. Whether or not Castro or infield prospects are traded for young arms will depend on not only his hitting, but his play in the field as well.

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