I’d like to think Starlin Castro’s more patient plate approach has helped increase his power numbers this season, and maybe it has, but it’s also worth remembering the 22-year-old is just beginning to fill out his 6’0″, 190 lbs frame.
If Castro continues to mature physically over the next year or two, we might be looking at a guy who could hit 25-plus home runs per season, which would help put Starlin among the elite offensive shortstops in the game.
His solo HR to deep centerfield at Colorado last night gives him 14 long balls on the season–a career-high. It’s also the fourth best HR total among all MLB shortstops, with the Nationals’ Ian Desmond leading the way with 24 home runs.
Meanwhile, Castro’s .756 OPS ranks fifth best among all shortstops while his 77 RBI ranks first.
In addition, Starlin is the first Cub since Sammy Sosa in 1995 to record 25 stolen bases and 75 or more RBI. He also leads the club in multi-hit games (48) and has reached base safely in 122 of his 154-games played.
The fact Starlin amassed 500 career hits before his 23rd birthday only confirms what a natural talent Castro is with the bat. And it’s exciting to imagine what a finely tuned plate approach and a bigger body might turn this kid into in the coming seasons.
As frustrating as Castro can be at times, especially on defense, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves this is a special, special player the Cubs have locked-up long-term (seven-years with the option for an eighth).
Of course, sky-high potential brings sky-high expectations. Whether or not Starlin can deliver, I don’t know. But right now I wouldn’t bet against him.