Manny Ramirez helping Castro through struggles
Despite what you may feel about Chicago Cubs All-Star shortstopStarlin Castro
, you cannot deny that the kid can hit. He’s only into his sixth season in professional baseball and he’s already compiled 898 hits going into Monday night. That’s an average of 185 hits per season, and he’s only 25-years-old.
The chance of him becoming a member of the 3,000 hit club is very good, especially if he keeps up his current pace. But right now Castro finds himself in a little bit of a slump at the plate. Over the past five games, Castro is 4-for-21. It’s not a big slump, but one that could manifest into a longer one.
Thankfully for Castro, he has a mentor on his side that can help him with his current slump at the plate.
In a story written by Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com, Manny Ramirez seems to have taken some of the younger Cubs players under his wing, and these young Cubs would be wise to listen to him – he is one of the most dangerous hitters of his era. Ramirez has noticed that Castro is being pitched a certain way by pitchers, “Everyone is pitching him middle-away,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes he opens too quick.”
Ramirez has always been a character on and off the field, but you cannot take away that when it comes to hitting, he knows what he’s talking about. If he sees a flaw in Castro’s plate approach, it would be in his best interest to take the advice of Ramirez and put it to good use.
Ramirez wasn’t just a power hitting home run guy – he had 547 doubles over his career.
Castro has never been a big power hitter; his career high in home runs is 14, which he hit in 2012 and 2014. What he’s always been very good at is hitting line drive gaps and driving in runs with doubles – that is something he hasn’t done lately.
"‘Don’t be afraid to hit a double. Don’t be afraid to hit an extra-base hit. Are they going to fine you?’ -Manny Ramirez courtesy of espn.com"
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Even Cubs manager Joe Maddon can see that his shortstop is struggling and maybe pressing just too much right now. Maddon has moved Castro around in the order frequently this year and in Monday’s game, Maddon moved Castro into the sixth hole. “I asked him to back off a little, just go play and have a good time”.
Part of the problem could be that Castro does make a lot of mental mistakes with his glove – that may carry over to his performance at the plate. It seems at times that Castro could be his own worst critic after making one of those errors on the field as he is very animated after the play.
Instead of shaking it off and focusing on the next play, he could be letting that one play carry on throughout the game; maybe relaxing is just what he needs to do.
Maybe with a mentor like Ramirez and his manager telling him to relax some, he’ll do just that and start to be the hitter that he’s been his whole career.
As I’m writing this, Castro just hit a solo home run. Add another hit to the total.