In his first two full years playing for the Chicago Cubs, Starlin Castro was a young phenom and a two-time All-Star selection. In two seasons, he had missed a total of four games, led the NL in hits one season and was being compared to the likes of Derek Jeter. But then Castro started to come back down to earth after his torrid start. Now in 2014, Castro is once again playing up to his full abilities for the Cubs and is worthy of All-Star consideration come time for the Midsummer Classic.
If it was not for Troy Tulowitzki, Castro could easily be viewed as the most productive shortstop within the NL. Even across all shortstops, Castro’s name appears near the top in all major offensive categories. Castro has been a bright spot in the Cubs’ lineup playing every day. Fittingly, the two young centerpieces, he and Anthony Rizzo, are the only Cubs to play in every game thus far.
While Castro still may have a defensive lapse every once in awhile, the effort is showing through more in the other aspects of his game as well. Last season, the hustle being put in by Castro could have been questioned. However, this year the hustle is there which could be a determining factor in the spike in production.
Castro is running out ground balls, looking to take an extra base and being more aggressive at the plate. Those do not always show in the box score, but a credit for that can be given to Rick Renteria and his staff. This underlying element was one of the reasons why Renteria was ultimately hired for the job. Castro may finally be getting “it” at the big-league level.
For Castro, the talent is and always has been there. For a player still developing in his own right, the mental aspect is what is key for the shortstop. In the first six weeks of the season, Castro is already halfway to his home run and RBI output from last year. The batting average is reflecting the quality production as well. Because of that Tulowitzki guy, Castro may not be starting in the All-Star game, but he definitely is worthy of All-Star consideration on the ballots and an invite to the game.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.