All of this competition and uncertainty for Starlin Castro may have been the best thing for the young short stop. From early reports it sounds like he’s finally getting it and growing up. He’s now a more senior member of the Cubs – which means more responsibility and trust. I also think Joe Maddon, Dave Martinez, and Manny Ramirez will all work wonders for him. Last year was a bounce back year at the plate for him. Batting .292 with 14 home runs and 65 runs batted in – he increased all of his 2014 numbers from 2013 in fewer games while cutting down on his strikeouts.
Before he was injured last year, you could really see that the light went on and Castro was finally starting to put it all together – not just at the plate but on the field with his glove too. Now with the trade rumors that surrounded him in the off-season and the rumors of two different prospects that could take his spot – he has more to prove now more so than ever before. I fully expect him to do just that. Depending on where he bats in the lineup – Castro could see an increase in runs scored or runs batted in. Maybe a slight increase in home runs – but don’t expect much higher than 15. I would expect him to be at or even above .300 and a continued approach at the plate that will show he’s cutting down on strikeouts and an increase in walks.
He’ll be drafted within the first 10 short stops – possibly even top five. Shortstop is a hard position to pick – there isn’t a lot of depth around the league for a player who can hit for average and with some power. Expect Troy Tulowitzki to go first if he stays healthy this Spring. After him, Jose Reyes, Ian Desmond and maybe even Elvis Andrus could go ahead of Castro. Depending on if your league still recognizes Hanley Ramirez as a shortstop – he’ll likely go second hitting in Fenway this year.
Don’t sit and wait too long for Castro to fall. If you see the names listed above go and your pick is up, unless there is someone at another key position like third or catcher that has fallen in your lap – pick up Castro before you’re stuck with a shortstop that you’re unhappy with.
Next: MVP candidate?