Many fantasy baseball owners expected Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro to become a top-tier shortstop in 2012, but he failed to take the necessary steps forward after a stellar 2011 campaign. Castro simply blended in with the pack last season.
However, many people are forgetting that the kid is only 22 years old, so he has a lot of baseball left to play. Last season was just his second full season in the bigs, and he impressively played in 162 games, which was his second straight season playing at least 158 games. It is hard to find reliable shortstops nowadays in fantasy, because most miss at least 20 games a season, so the fact that Castro is always in the lineup certainly adds to his overall fantasy value.
Castro also hit 14 home runs and drove in 78 runs in the heart of a lackluster Cubs’ lineup, both of which were career-highs from the youngster. Castro’s average may have dipped from .307 in 2011 to .283 in 2012, but he still showed that he is a great contact hitter. Look for his batting average to certainly rise in 2013.
The shortstop also hit 29 doubles last season along with a very impressive 12 triples. Castro has amazing speed on the base path, and his 25 steals was certainly a welcomed addition for fantasy owners. However, Castro was surprisingly caught stealing 13 times throughout 2012, but that is a number that is most likely a sign of his immaturity. He will become a better runner on the bases as he learns more pitchers’ tells and gains more experience in the bigs.
This is the season where Castro finally cracks the top-five fantasy shortstops, so don’t let him pass you by in drafts in 2013. Castro is one shortstop to target early this upcoming season in all fantasy formats and he will easily be worth a pick inside of the first three rounds in 2013.