Chicago Cubs Prospect Profile: Starlin Castro

Highly touted prospect Starlin Castro will likely make his major league debut at some point this season. Castro is 6’1″, 180 pounds and turned 20 years old on March 24. Last year between High-A and AA, he hit .299/.342/.392/.734. Castro also finished sixth in the Arizona Fall League with a .376 batting average … his full line in the AFL: .376/.398/.475/.873.

While Starlin Castro has not shown much home run power, the Cubs feel he will once he grows into his frame a little more. Castro’s speed has been on display not only with stealing bases but with his ability to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Castro swipped 28 bases last year, but was caught 11 times. Castro still has a lot to learn but appears to have the skills to make him a successful Major Leaguer.

Starlin Castro was in big league camp with the Cubs this past spring … and he showed he belonged. Not only did Castro field his position well but he hit the ball. Castro’s line this spring was .423/.444/.714 in 35 at bats with three doubles, two triples and a home run. Six of Castro’s fifteen hits went for extra bases and he showed the ability to hit from gap to gap.

Castro has continued to hit for the AA Tennessee Smokies. After five games and 22 at bats, he is hitting .364/.391/.545/.937. So far this year Castro’s performance at the plate indicates that he is ready for the next step. Could that be Major League pitching?

Starlin Castro has great range at shortstop and an above average arm. The talent and potential are not in question. To make it to the big leagues and play everyday Starlin Castro needs to cut down on fielding and throwing errors. Last year in the minors, Castro committed 39 errors … in Spring Training he committed three errors in 72.2 innings. After five games this season, Castro has already committed one error.

If Castro continues to hit the way he has (in Spring Training and with Tennessee) and shows improvement defensively, it shouldn’t be long before we see him in the familiar blue pinstripes.

There are a couple of things that could affect Starlin Castro from being called up.

First, and most importantly, if he hits a snag in his development … offensively or defensively. Second, it depends on how Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker are performming. Even if Theriot, Fontenot and Baker are doing well this year, it will be hard for the Cubs to keep Castro in the minors if continues to excel. Worst case scenario will likely be a September call-up but more than likely he will be in Chicago before then.

Interesting to note, there is an open spot on the Cubs 40-man roster (currently at 39 players). Could the Cubs be leaving that spot open for Starlin Castro? Only time, and his performance on the field, will tell.

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