The Chicago Cubs are on the verge of a roster overhaul plain and simple. Over the next two seasons the anticipation of highly talented minor league players figure to fill Wrigley Field in a complete roster transformation. During the turnover of players one guy that should remain in the media guide is infielder Starlin Castro.
Castro is the current shortstop for the Cubs. He will be entering his forth full season and fifth overall with the Cubs. Whether shortstop will be his continued primary position is a decision the coaching staff needs to determine with Javier Baez close to joining the roster.
Castro’s defense has been put into question many times with various miscues, mental lapses, or errant throws to first base. But to solve the defensive alignment a solution should be to put Baez at shortstop and slide Castro to second base, not to just cut bait. With time that would make an excellent double-play combination like the days of Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston who were both All-Stars with the Cubs. Baez is a future All-Star and Castro has already been a two-time All-Star. Together, special things could be in store.
At the plate, Castro’s batting average has gone down the last three seasons. Since a 200 hit season, Castro has struggled in the box. Last year with more at-bats his RBI total was way down and the strikeouts were way up — which is never a good combination.
Castro is the type of player who is still developing in his own right. He will only be 24-years old come Opening Day. One thing the Cubs need to do is find the correct place in the lineup for Castro. With the revolving door of players moving in and out the last few years that has been difficult to establish. Castro has hit pretty much in every spot other than ninth in the order, and that has to change. Ideally, Castro should fit into the No. 2 spot in front of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant eventually.
One thing that has to change is he has to see more pitches in that spot. His highest walk total in a season is 36. Castro will be valuable when finding a way to get on base and scoring runs in front of the sluggers. 2013 was a bad season plain and simple, but players like Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton arguably had down seasons as well. If Castro has the pressure of carrying an offense removed from his shoulders and just goes out and plays baseball, his talent will break out without question. The evidence is there with a season of leading the league in hits already on his resume.
If the Cubs were to move Castro now it could prove to be a costly regret down the road. The Cubs have a history of letting guys get away and then watching them produce great careers — future Hall of Fame inductee Greg Maddux would fall into that category. With all of this talk of the Cubs’ system developing players for the future, Starlin Castro should be included in those plans as well for future success at Wrigley Field.