Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro firing on all cylinders since demotion


After losing his starting shortstop job to Addison Russell, Starlin Castro has re-focused, ready to prove his value to the Chicago Cubs and his critics.

It wasn’t that long ago that Starlin Castro was caught up in endless trade rumors as speculation regarding his future with the Cubs organization ran rampant in the days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

As we’ve all seen before, though, the deadline came and went and Castro remained on the North Side, where he’s already made three All-Star teams in his first six big-league campaigns.

And apparently that is all it took to get him back on-track.

In the month of August, the 25-year-old infielder batted .296/.315/.437, with seven doubles as part of his 21 hits in 25 contests. He did draw just a pair of walks in the month, but his offensive contributions by this point are well-noted.

Between the months of May, June and July, Castro failed to break the .250 mark at the dish, while tallying just three extra-base hits in the latter – with no home runs. This prompted the move to start Russell, who has been solid in the second-half for Joe Maddon, emerging as yet-another quality young rookie in the Cubs’ system.

Last week when rosters expanded, Chicago promoted former top prospect Javier Baez, who struggled badly in his first go-round with the Cubs last summer, striking out a great deal while also showcasing light tower power.

This year with Triple-A Iowa, Baez rediscovered his swing while maturing a great deal, coping with the loss of his sister and battling an injury that cost him a month-plus, and, upon his call-up to Chicago, he hit the ground running.

So far in September, Castro has a 1.319 OPS – and while that’s not sustainable, it certainly shows what he’s capable of at the plate.

In an admittedly-small sample size of eight September games, Baez is batting .320/.370/.520 – while playing an above-average third base, as well. The re-introduction of the former first-round pick has only worsened the situation for Castro, while improving the long-term outlook of the Cubs.

Chicago has the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Starlin Castro all vying for playing time in the infield. You could very well mention Chris Coghlan, Tommy La Stella and Jonathan Herrera in that mix, also, but Coghlan primarily mans the outfield and the other two are back-up pieces.

This logjam – one that Cubs fans have hoped for some time would materialize – does not mean Castro is headed out of town this offseason. It’s not hard to fathom Chicago shifting Bryant to a corner outfield spot full-time, keeping Baez at third and sticking Castro at second alongside Russell up the middle.

In fact, that seems like a pretty amiable outcome for everyone.

So while you may look at his performance of-late and think that he’s just building up trade value (which he certainly is), take note of what a Cubs infield could look like with a productive Starlin Castro in the mix.

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