It’s hard to believe fans can undervalue a 25-year-old three-time all-star, but some fans have consistently done that with Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro. Slowly but surely, he is making all Cubs fans believe that he’s not only a mainstay in Chicago, but also a mainstay at shortstop.
With one month of the 2015 season in the books, Castro’s bat has lit up the league. In 83 at-bats, he’s hitting .325 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage. He also leads the Cubs with 27 hits and 12 runs batted in.
There was never much doubt about Castro’s bat though, which has gotten him to the All-Star Game the aforementioned three times. He has amassed 873 hits already in his career, which is more hits than either Pete Rose and Derek Jeter had at the same age. That’s not to say Castro is on their level, but it puts into perspective just how good he is at the plate.
So why has Castro not been more widely accepted as a cornerstone of the team? It seems ludicrous that a player with his numbers thus far has been under as much scrutiny as he has been in the past. With many fans, his attitude, work ethic, and baseball IQ have all been used as anti-Castro fuel.
Of course, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and what goes on in Castro’s mind during games, but he has not had any major mental lapses or situations that point to him having a bad attitude this season.
The lack of work ethic from Castro has gone from rumor to myth this season. His numbers are a bit higher than they have been in the past, but the most noticeable difference has been his defense.
Once considered a weak and mistake-prone defender, the young middle infielder has become a better fielder this season – showing off his improvements with some spectacular diving plays. Manager Joe Maddon recently praised Castro’s defense in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
"“He’s really good to his left. Coming in on slower ground balls. Throwing very accurately. Getting up off the ground to his feet quickly and throwing the ball well. And then beyond that, he’s playing his typical offense.”"
It’s evident that Castro put in the offseason work and has come to play shortstop at a high level for the Cubs. There’s no way he could ever warrant that sort of praise in the past.
He now has the offense, the defense and the experience to be a leader on the team. The evolution of Starlin Castro is continuing for the better, and he is turning doubters into believers.