In his fourth major league season, many projected big strides forward for Chicago Cubs SS Starlin Castro. After averaging 195 hits over the past two seasons, many believed that a batting title could be in store for Castro. While his career low BABIP has not aided in his pursuit, Castro’s batting average and on base percentage are both over 40 points lower than his career average. With this decreased offensive production, deteriorating glove, and lack of consistent effort, the Cubs should be very concerned about the young shortstop.
Castro’s career walk rate (5.1%) and strikeout rate (14.4%) are very concerning. Those fears have been exasperated, as both figures have worsened in 2013. With such a negligible walk rate, Castro’s value will be contingent on reaching base via hits. His career OBP (.329) is less than 40 points greater than his career batting average (.290). While his career OBP is acceptable but slightly lower than the Cubs would like, it is nearly entirely contingent on hits. With career-low contact rates on pitches in and out of the strike zone, Castro is struggling to put the ball in play and make good contact.
The Cubs have continually expected Castro to make strides forward, and he has entirely failed to do so. With a declining walk rate, contact rate, and batting average, his offensive value is disintegrating. If Castro was more disciplined as a hitter, he would both draw walks and make better contact. With newfound energy and approach at the plate, Castro could potentially be a more engaged ballplayer – leading to a necessary improvement on the defensive end. While he has shown flashes of potentially elite talent, his failure to dedicate himself to improving has left Starlin Castro as a young underachiever.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.