If you follow the Cubs, (why would you be here if you didn’t) you know that Starlin Castro and what he will ultimately become is a very popular topic of conversation. Will he or won’t he become a big time star? Can he take his game to the next level?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I used to own one of these! So what lies ahead for Castro? It is decidely so? Outlook not so good? The easy out for the 8-ball would be “reply hazy – try again later.” But I’m going to go with “signs point to yes”. And the sign I’m pointing to is the great Alan Trammell.
Like Castro, Tram came to the big leagues at a very young age. He played 19 games for the Tigers at the age of 19 in ’77. The next season, as a twenty-year-old, he became the everyday shortstop in the Motor City. He hit .268 with 2 home runs and had an on-base % of .335 and a .357 slugging average. In Starlin’s age 20 season, his rookie year, he hit .300 with 3 HRs and had a .347 on base and a .408 slugging %. Castro has now played in 495 big league games and compiled these averages: .294/.333/.420. He’s hit 30 jacks and stolen 60 bases in 91 tries. He has done this in 1996 at bats.
Trammell through his age 23 season had played in 550 games and had 1903 at bats. His line? Good question: .275/.347/.356. Tram had hit 19 long balls by then and stolen 42 while being caught 30 times. So, the comparison has merit. Trammell ended up being a very good offensive shortstop with 185 career home runs. However, he didn’t have his first double digit dinger season until 1983, his 6th full campaign. It takes a while for power to develop for many young players. It goes hand in hand with plate discipline and waiting for a pitch you can drive as opposed to something you can just put in play. I suspect in the next couple of seasons we’ll see the power numbers start to climb for Castro to the point where he will become a perennial 20-25 home run threat. “Just hang on here” you cry, what about defense? A shortstop has to be a good defender doesn’t he? Well, of course he does. Let’s shake that magic 8-ball one more time….it’s spinning and spinning……………. “reply hazy – try again later”.
Remember to back up home,