This week MLB Network released their list of the “Top 10 Right Now: Shortstops.” They ranked Starlin Castro as the 3rd best shortstop in baseball, behind only Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitzki who took the top rank. Starlin has made quite the impression, not only on Chicago Cubs fans, but also on baseball fans across the league. Cubs fans should be excited because Castro is the youngest player on the list. At 22 years of age, Castro has plenty of time to continue his sprint toward becoming the best shortstop in Major League Baseball. The Cubs signed Starlin Castro through 2019 with a team option for the 2020 season. This contract will expire when Castro is 30. The Cubs have guaranteed Castro will spend his most productive years in Wrigley.
The only downside to Castro is his lack of maturity and focus. His extreme athletic ability and natural feel for the game have made him an instant success, but as fans witnessed last year, Castro sometimes has a problem staying engaged in the game. During one Sunday night game on national television, Castro even had his back turned while the ball was delivered to the plate. Every young player makes mistakes, but many fans began to lose patience with Castro’s lack of intensity. We need to remember how young Castro is, and as he continues to mature, he will be able to maintain the focus required to be a team leader and superstar at his position. The issue will be, can the Cubs build a team around Castro that can get them back to the playoffs?
If the Cubs can build around Castro they may be able to climb out of the cellar. Darwin Barney earned a gold glove last year as Castro’s double play counterpart. The Cubs could use some help at the corners, but the primary issue, as all Cubs fans know, is the need for quality starting pitching. As the off-season wraps up and we move into spring training, every Cubs fan is hoping our pitching will improve, but one thing we can count on is consistency and stellar play from our young shortstop.