For the first time all season, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum has decided to put Starlin Castro in the leadoff spot, and will do so in Friday night’s game versus the Washington Nationals. It’s usual for the Cubs to bounce their best all-around hitter throughout the lineup — Castro has batted second, third and fifth this year, and now he is at the top.
Castro is the future for the Cubs and despite a few miscues in the field here and there, his production is one of the few things that the lovable losers have going for them. Thus far in 2013, the Cubs have gotten excellent starting pitching, yet they remain at the bottom of the standings with a 13-21 record due to awful timely hitting and constant mental mistakes.
At 23-years-old, Castro has already shown that his body can take the rigors of a MLB season considering he has led the National League in at-bats each of the last two seasons, and currently hold the league lead with 145 plate appearances. Unfortunately, the .269 batting average that Castro is featuring in 2013 is a career-low, but perhaps the leap up to the leadoff spot can turn the shortstop into a more patient hitter.
This is hardly a permanent move, so if Ross Detwiler and the Nats mow Castro down tonight, he will likely be slotted in a different spot on Saturday.
Sveum has to have some kind of reasoning behind this, but the luxury of coaching a lowly team like the Cubs is that you can always chalk a move like this up to “we need something different” because this team is not getting out of last place for at least another year or two.