The big focus this season has been on the two young players with the long-term contracts — Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. But we probably haven’t talked enough about a couple of other emerging core guys.
Travis Wood has gone from battling for the 5th spot in the rotation in spring training to becoming, in the words of his manager, the Cubs #1 starter. Beating Clayton Kershaw on the last trip and dominating the Reds Monday are just two of the latest examples of his breakthrough season.
The other guy is Welington Castillo, who has had an elite defensive season behind the plate. His ability to block pitches in the dirt and handle the running game have been Gold Glove-like. And we are now seeing some really good at-bats as well. Last night he had the best offensive game of his career, cranking a couple of home runs in the blowout win.
So while many fans tend to focus on the ups and downs of the “big” two, the development of Wood and Castillo have to be two of the biggest bright spots of this season.