Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro has revived his image
In a season that has seen highs and lows from Starlin Castro, has the young shortstop done enough to regain his trade value?
If asked to speak honestly, the 25-year-old would agree that 2015 didn’t go the way he hoped. It has been a quick fall from his third all-star selection to being benched by manager Joe Maddon in early August.
As one of the “veterans” on this ball club, Castro could have handled the situation differently. The dynamic in the locker room could have gotten toxic, but Castro did otherwise. We won’t know if he was given good advice or if he had the maturity to do it himself, but Castro took the demotion like a professional.
With less than a week in the season, Castro has managed to provide a spark when the team has called him to do it.
On August 7th, Castro was hitting an anemic .238 and a .274 OBP. His presence was actually affecting the team negatively. By September, Castro began to use the limited chances to his advantage. In the past month, Castro has hit .407 with four home runs in just a handful of starts.
The Chicago Cubs will still have a decision to make going into 2016. It’s becoming clearer that the future of the infield is set with Addison Russell and Javier Baez. Both offer great offensive upside and their defensive value is far and away superior to Castro.
The benching was successful in two ways. It allowed Starlin Castro to take the time to reevaluate his approach. Leading up to this season, Castro, along with fellow “vet” Anthony Rizzo, had played a lot of innings. This was the first time when the innings mattered. As the team continued to win, the expectations from fans raised as well. Perhaps Castro wasn’t ready for the spotlight quite yet.
We wanted to see growth professionally, but it seemed by July that Castro was still making the same mistakes he has always made. The performance that he has put up since is making Joe Maddon look like a genius.
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Other Major League teams will take a look at Starlin in the offseason. He has shown that he can still be very productive at the plate. The switch to second base has been smooth so far and he might be able to convince a team that he can be an above-average player there.
The bigger selling point might be his maturity. No one on the Cubs, or perhaps in the MLB has had their maturity level questioned more than Starlin Castro. From his approach on the field to the untimely errors because he would space out mentally at shortstop. Stalin Castro has done a complete turnaround to his image by being a good teammate. He kept his feelings about the benching to himself and projected a team-first attitude.
If Starlin Castro can match his attitude with the play on the field, he may still become an elite player in this league. For the Cubs, Castro has done everything right, and it may be the reason we will have to say goodbye.