Starlin Castro had an outstanding rookie campaign for the Chicago Cubs. He came up in May, and left his mark as one of the youngest players to ever touch a major league field. Not only that, but he’s a shortstop- one of the toughest positions on the diamond because your shortstop has to be a leader. Asking a 20 year old kid to lead a bunch of veteran infielders- had to have been pretty tough. However, Castro was up to the task- and showed everyone he has the skills to play at a very high level, and I expect this kid to be a very very good major leaguer. I’m not ready to compare him to Derek Jeter just yet, but I’m ready to say that Starlin Castro is the real deal. The Question I pose is….where is he going to hit?
I would support that on a day where Kosuke Fukudome doesn’t play, Starlin Castro hit lead off. All older baseball minds will tell you that a lead off hitter has to have stolen base speed. However, to me, speed is not the most important trait to have if you’re hitting 1. The ability to work counts, get on base, hit for some power, and square the ball up consistently is the number 1 trait a player has to have if I’m hitting him leadoff. Does Starlin Castro have these abilities? He sure does. Castro showed extremely strong plate coverage and patience in 2010 as a 20 year old. He showed he has the ability to hit line drives all over the field, work counts, and I believe he’ll hit for more power than he showed in 2010. I’m not talking strictly home runs- I’m talking gap to gap type power that can lead to 15 homers a year. And frankly- Castro isn’t slow. He’s a real strong hit and run guy if the Cubs can put a hitter behind him that can execute a hit and run. Castro allows the Cubs to do more in the heart of the lineup. Letting him hit leadoff without Kosuke playing- definitely is the smart thing to do because it will allow him to get his feet wet. Castro is the lead off guy of the future so it’s important to not forget that. As for the pressures of hitting leadoff? I think Castro showed that he can handle it.