Chicago Cubs: Time to move Starlin Castro down the order


Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro is an extremely talented and naturally gifted baseball player. He has an uncanny ability to make contact at the plate, and while his play in the field is inconsistent, he handles the most important defensive position in shortstop. Castro is a three-time All-Star and has 894 career hits. For a 25-year-old player, that is extremely impressive.

Castro is an incredibly valuable player, who (barring a blockbuster trade) will be a major part of the Chicago Cubs going forward. That being said, Castro is really struggling at the plate right now, and his time as the Cubs’ clean-up hitter should be a thing of the past.

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Where to place Castro in the batting order has been a well-discussed topic throughout his six-year career. With incredibly impressive contact skills, Castro seems to be best suited at the top of the line-up.

He has had plenty of successes hitting both first and second earlier in his career, but with Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant holding those spots firm, that is not really a current option for Castro.

He is not much of a power hitter, so placing him in the middle of the lineup has always seemed like an odd fit. However, with the Cubs severely lacking power in recent years, Castro has found himself in the third or fourth spot a lot of the time.

Now, the Cubs have a lot of power in their lineup, and Castro should no longer be expected to drive in a lot of runs from the middle of the order.

After a hot start to the season, Castro has cooled off as of late. In fact, through the month of May up until this point, Castro is hitting an abysmal .214/.250/.276. He entered the month with a slash line of .325/.349/.410, and it has dipped all the way down to .265/.295/.337.

Clearly the Cubs’ shortstop is struggling.

Castro is a high contact hitter who seems to be most effective when using the entire field. He has a tendency to get pull-happy at times, and that seems to be what is going on right now. Castro is refusing to go the other way with pitches, and when he tries to pull an outside pitch, it causes weak contact on the ground. This is happening far too often, and it is hurting the Cubs’ opportunities to score.

Castro is a professional hitter who will likely get his stride back soon. However, until he does, it would be in the best interest of the Cubs to move him down the order. Miguel Montero has had a very nice season so far, and he would be a much more dangerous option for the Cubs as the clean-up hitter.

Jorge Soler went through a tough stretch earlier this month, but he has looked much better in recent days. Soler should also be placed above Castro in the lineup, and Joe Maddon could even consider moving Chris Coghlan ahead of him.

Right now, Castro is showing nothing offensively. Until he figures it out, the Cubs need to find him a home in the sixth or seventh spot in the batting order.

Having him work out his issues out of the fourth spot in the order is clearly hurting the Cubs’ ability to drive in runs.

Next: Five Realistic Deadline Trade Targets for Cubs