You’re probably wondering what would possess me to select Starlin Castro as the Chicago Cubs non roster invitee. It’s not a lack of talent but the lack of a roster spot and the fact he’s been reassigned that would have prompted the aforementioned question.
Perhaps it’s keeping with the new, exciting instead of the old and washed up. Perhaps I’ve sipped some alcohol or maybe I just didn’t want to write about Kevin Millar or Chad Tracy again this year.
Castro came to camp with a big buzz but mainly it’s his age that’s done him in. The Chicago Cubs are to be careful witch Castro and will do what it takes to delay his service clock from ticking. The best way (and only way) to do that is to send him to the minors.
Almost immediately he became a talking point on Chicago Sports Radio as the media hyped the Cubs top prospect while manager Lou Pinella pretty much implied he had no knowledge that even such a player existed.
While I’m more likely to believe Pinella was being coy, you can’t deny that starting the season in the majors was never an option for Castro. While the Cubs failed to upgrade their middle infield just about everyone knew that they would ultimately go with Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot up the middle with Jeff Baker in tow.
To be fair Theriot isn’t nearly as bad as he’s been portrayed by Chicago Sports radio following a dismal 2009, while Fontenot is simply holding down a position for now. Theirot is by far the better bet of the two to get on base, his ability to steal makes him an asset while Fontenot’s big advantage between the two has been a slightly better ability to connect with doubles.
But what both of them being with the Cubs ultimately means is that there will be no way around calling up Castro at some point. One of the infield options may be productive but it’s not likely to be both. What Castro lacks in power at the plate he makes up for with speed and a keen eye.
Of course the biggest place for improvement in Castros game ultimately lies in the infield. Split between Daytona and Tennessee he committed 39 errors at short stop. While there is expected to be a high number for a 19 year-old, it’s nonetheless a number that needs to shrink if he’s to be a reliable major league infielder.
Castro may be the Cubs option at lead off in 2011 but in 2010 he’s got to get his game in order. A productive transition from Spring to Summer likely earns him a call up in July should Fontenot or Theriot struggle, else wise he may be looking more at late August or September but there’s little doubt in my mind he finds the majors this season.
I could have opted to go with Chad Tracy or Kevin Millar here and while both are hitting I’m having an awful hard time considering neither did that during the 2009 season and a quick look at the Cubs roster could provide cases that neither makes the club. I ultimately think they keep Millar for some reason but I think Tracy is the better player and ends up somewhere before the summer begins.
|70 Andrew Cashner||R/R||6-6||210||09/11/86|
|79 Casey Coleman||L/R||6-0||180||07/03/87|
|20 Thomas Diamond||R/R||6-3||240||04/06/83|
|78 Jeff Kennard||R/R||6-2||220||07/26/81|
|68 J.R. Mathes||L/L||6-3||210||11/09/81|
|53 Vince Perkins||L/R||6-5||240||09/27/81|
|76 James Russell||L/L||6-4||205||01/08/86|
|71 Robinson Chirinos||R/R||6-1||195||06/05/84|
|74 Steve Clevenger||L/R||6-0||195||04/05/86|
|75 Chris Robinson||R/R||6-0||220||05/12/84|
|65 Darwin Barney||R/R||5-10||180||11/08/85|
|67 Starlin Castro||R/R||6-0||190||03/24/90|
|73 Ryan Flaherty||L/R||6-3||200||07/27/86|
|73 Blake Lalli||L/R||6-1||205||05/12/83|
|15 Kevin Millar||R/R||6-0||215||09/24/71|
|9 Chad Tracy||L/R||6-2||215||05/22/80|
|61 Josh Vitters||R/R||6-2||200||08/27/89|
|57 Matt Camp||L/R||6-0||200||05/29/84|
|59 Brett Jackson||L/R||6-2||210||08/02/88|
|4 Bryan LaHair||L/R||6-5||240||11/05/82|
|15 Bobby Scales||S/R||6-0||185||10/04/77|
|56 Brad Snyder||L/L||6-3||200||05/25/82|