Highlighting Double Trouble … Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney

To say the Cubs season has not gone the way the Ricketts family and Jim Hendry thought it would is an understatement, but there are two players that keep people tuning into the games … Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney.

Castro and Barney have provided many of the Cubs highlights over the first 54 games. The 21-year old shortstop continues to prove that he has the tools to play at the highest level while being one of the youngest in the game … and his double play partner, the rookie from Oregon State, has shown where a high baseball IQ and hard work can get you.

Here are several videos, courtesy of MLB.com, of ‘Double Trouble‘ over the first two months of the season. Enjoy the off day …

Starlin Castro – .318/.343/.435/.778 in 52 games with 13 doubles, five triples, a home run and 25 RBI
April – .348/.375/.461/.836 with six doubles, two triples and a home run
May – .287/.310/.407/.717 with seven doubles and three triples

Darwin Barney - .310/.332/.391/.723 in 51 games with seven doubles, three triples, a home run and 25 RBI
April - .326/.351/.449/.801 with four doubles, two triples and a home run
May – .296/.316/.343/.658 with three doubles and a triple

Barney and Castro are tied for second on the team in RBI (Alfonso Soriano, 29). Castro (71) leads the team in hits and Barney (61) is just behind him.

Starlin Castro

Darwin Barney

Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney

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"Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
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  • Ripsnorter1

    Teams with fewer wins than the Cubs:

    #1 Twins  17
    #2 Astros 22
    #3 Cubs 23
    *******************************************

    I’m watching the Pirates……………. vs …………………….Mets

    Maholm for Pirates…………  vs…………………………………. Pelfrey
    2-7…3.18 era…1.17 WHIP…225 BAA—

    Pelfrey for Mets
    3-4..5.00 ERA…1.46 WHIP….278 BAA

    Pirates should win this game. If so, they’d be a mere one game under .500.

    *************************************
    Astros…………………………………vs. SD Patsies
    Norris…………………………………..vs. Shauffer

    Norris ain’t too bad . . . .
    2-4…3.76 ERA…..1.34 WHIP……255 BAA

    Shauffer
    1-3 …3.60 ERA….1.34 WHIP ….281 BAA

    Astros could win this game. They have the better starting pitcher. But the Astros’ pen is AWFUL. 

    ******************************************
    It’s possible that the Cubs could wake up Friday morning, tied for last place in the entire NL.

    • paulcatanese

      Rip, not only possible, but a sure thing. If not Friday, by the end of the weekend.
      Ah, bring back the fiftys,when I knew exactly what was going to happen, I could get a box seat just walking up to the window almost anywhere I wanted.
      Parking was no problem,could even have my car washed by the end of the game. No wait for hot dogs or beer.Those were the days, and sometimes
      just sometimes there was a game on the field, and a Cub player actually
      got a hit. I have a feeling those days are about to come back.

    • Anonymous47701

      Cubs could imminently catch the Minnesota Twins for the Worst Team in the entire Major League before the end of the month.

      • diehardcubfan

        Can and I hate to say it but hopefully will.  This is about the only way change will occur on the Cubs.

        • diehardcubfan

          Let me caveat that by saying that this depends on whether the Ricketts actually attribute the poor play to “injuries”.

  • Kevin

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=chc&year=2010

    The past 10 draft classes for the Cubs. We wonder why they are no good. I know Cubs baseball but I only know maybe 3% of the names from these classes.

    Insult to injury, a fact that I had forgotten — Cubs drafted Tim Lincecum in 2003 (out of high school I’m assuming)

    • Tom U

      The one thing you notice is how the quality of the drafts jump up after 2005. That’s when Tim Wilken was hired.

      The other is the quality players that were drafted, but not signed. Among some of the players I remember seeing are Micah Owings, Khalil Greene, Matt LaPorta, and, as you mentioned Lincecum. While none (except for Lincecum) were superstars, having them in the system would have increased the competition for all of the minor leaguers and pressured the major league players. That is how you build organizational strength.

      About the only player I saw after 2005 of any significance that the Cubs probably should have signed would have been Ivan DeJesus Jr.

  • Bryan

    Neil…I know it’s not a big deal, and is infrequent in the overall daily posts provided, but all these video clips really bog down the refresh/launch capacity.  Maybe it’s just my office network, but CCO is painfully slow today.

    Outside of that, the ship is sure sinking for the north siders.  Yesterday was the first time I had seen Quade in the post-game media session….just not impressed.  And pretty soon Rickett’s will have the bleachers primarily to himself to hang around in.  How disappointing for a proud franchise (and loyal fan base). 

    • paulcatanese

      I agree with you on the Quade interviews after the first few I just fast forward
      the dvr and go on. He is just full of juvenile talk with excuses.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Austin Bibens-Dirx
    Tennessee – Trey McNutt
    Daytona – Aaron Kurcz
    Peoria – Dallas Beeler

  • Ripsnorter1

    WhatdidItellya?

    3rd Inning: Pirates 7  Mets 0

    • cubtex

      Pirates are still the Pirates. Choked away a 7-0 lead to the Mets.

      • Mike1040

        WOW! Just like us. errrrr well, we’re just like them. OMG, Have we become the Pirates??

  • paulcatanese

    On the comment by Quade regarding Aram getting hit in the face, he says it’s not too bad at least it didn’t hit him in the eye, well thats easy for him to say it wasn’t his eye.
    what a off the wall thing to say, again he dosen’t have a clue.

    On another note,if Aram would have been protecting the line as he should have in that situation it may not have happened in the first place.

    • Bryan

      Paul…I thought the same thing when Quade mentioned the eye reference about Ramirez.  What a dumb comment from a MLB manager. 

  • paulcatanese

    One thing I will say in Arams defense,(and I am definately not a fan of his) is that since he was moved out of the 4 spot he is hitting the ball better,I cant deny that,with the exception that it should have been done long ago. I wonder how he handled the
    situation personaly when Pena was walked intentionly to get to him. I guess he liked cause he got a hit. He is such a complex person one never knows which guy shows up to play. Now if he had sacrificed his ego last fall and early this year to move to first base I could have changed my mind about him,but then it didn’t happen and the Cubs were 10 million poorer.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Paul, don’t forget these thoughts from Jim Clueless:

      “Pena is a leader in the clubhouse. We need him.”
      “Aram is our leader in the clubhouse.”

      “Augie Ojeda will add experience and leadership in the clubhouse.” 

      “Reed Johnson will provide leadership in the clubhouse.” Get the picture? If you don’t have a manager who is the leader, then you need to hire mult-imillion dollar ballplayer-leaders.

      • paulcatanese

        Rip,thats why they have so many problems, all those leaders, it must be difficult for the non-leaders to follow all the different directions that all the leaders are going in. When Augie gets there he will be the leader of the troop as he would be the short straw in the pick.

  • Anonymous47701

    Almost Forgot! (A Fire Sale Update)

    13. Bring Back Ryne Sandberg!

    • cubtex

      I mentioned that as well. They might need to do that next year to satisfy the fan base.

      • Anonymous47701

        What about adding Ben Cherington to become the new Cubs President? Isn’t he supposed to be some kind of baseball guy that the Cubs would need?

  • Zonk

    I hate to rain on everyone’s Castro/Barney parade, but I can’t help but think they are overhyped.

    Castro is a good ML ballplayer, but I don’t think a superstar.  He makes good contact, and hopefully will grow into power, but isn’t a great offensive player, merely a good one.  His defense is erratic, and if he has to switch to 2B, his offense goes from good to very average. 

    Darwin Barney, on the other hand, is a steady defender, but I don’t think he hits enough to be a ML regular at anything other than SS.  At SS, he would be a bottom-third player in the majors, he is better than some guys out there, but is ultimately an Adam Everett type who makes a bit more contact, and has less power.  His line in May is very Rey Sanchez-esque; good contact, nothing else.  I think Barney is a good bench player on a good team.

    Sorry, just the way I see these guys.

    • cubtex

      You are definately underestimating Castro. He is only 21. How many 21 year olds do you see in the majors,asked to bat in the 3 hole,and hit over .300. He is definately a star in the making!

    • Aaron

      I agree on both accounts, but let’s see what happens when Castro adds a bit of muscle. I’m a little bit higher on him than you seem to be. 

      Both Castro and Barney seem to be scuffling a bit now, hitting an awful lot of groundballs, and it’d be very wise of Quade (LOL…that word does not seem synonymous with Quade though) to sit them, and let LeMahieu have some starts in place of them a few days. 

      Barney is nothing more than a singles hitter with average speed and I believe someone posted on here the other day about his defensive zone ratings, etc. I think it was Rip….and he’s not that great defensively. But he’s a GREAT teammate, and has a lot of energy, so by no means am I saying he shouldn’t be in MLB…just that his upside is limited.

      Let’s also see if another offseason at Camp Colvin will boost Barney’s power numbers. It’s quite possible, so you just never know.

      I also wasn’t aware of this, but LeMahieu’s BABIP, along with Campana, is through the roof, so I’m not sure if that’s going to translate very well at the MLB level when there’s better defense in the bigs.

      • paulcatanese

        Aaron I agree and just wish LeMahieu and Campana would be allowed to play, the extra excitement that they would add would make swallowing this team a little easier.

      • Brian

        Aaron,

        This is a great point about BABIP.  I have become a big fan of this stat.  I think you are dead on about this.  It will be interesting to see how it translates.

    • paulcatanese

      You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. However I think you miss the point. Castro and Barney work well together and are exciting to watch,something that I cannot say about the rest of the veteran players out there. Wherever they may be ranked in the rest of Major League Baseball does not even matter with the way Cub fans are following them. They are diamonds in the rough with this team. If you look around at the Cub lineup what is there to watch? Castro will be a long time player at this level and maybe Barney will not but while they are there they are enjoyed above the dismal representation that comprises the rest of the team and management. To watch them makes people forget what is there,so in that sense I think they are not overhyped.

    • http://twitter.com/JasonPenrod Jason Penrod

      What are he chances the cubs move Castro to 3B, Barney to SS, and play DJ Lemahieu at 2B…. (next year)?

      • paulcatanese

        Jason,I have to jump in here,so excuse me. I agree 1000% on that idea and would love to see it.

        • Zonk

          I think that’s a terrible idea.  You might get 15 HRs between all 3 players all year.  We would get alot of singles, but not much else. 

          Someone else pointed out, that LeMahieu is a decent prospect, but his high BA is fueled by an unsustainable BABIP.  And, he has shown no power at all in the minors. 

          I shouldn’t be so rude, but we really need some pop in our lineup.  Our young power is zippo, aside from Soto when he is hitting.

          • Tom U

            I’ve been looking recently to see who LeMahieu and Castro resemble at this point in their development, and it has been interesting. 

            Castro can be compared to A-Rod and Hanley Ramirez, as they all were young shortstops when they came to the majors. At about 6’3″ 230 lbs., they are both quite a bit bigger than Castro’s 6’0″ 190 lbs. A-Rod hit for more power in the minors, but both he and Ramirez needed some adjustment time before the power came. 

            Castro is also well ahead in development to two others he has been compared to, Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera, showing to be a much more consistent hitter at this point in his career. 

            LeMahieu compares favorably to Wade Boggs and George Brett. They were all originally shortstops and had to be moved around. LeMahieu actually hit better than Brett in the minors, and is very comparable to Boggs. Brett hit more homers than LeMahieu, but didn’t really develop his power until he was 24 years old. Boggs was never considered a power hitter, and didn’t hit double digit home runs until he was 29 years old.

            So will the Cubs have less power? Yes, in the short term, but maybe not over time.

            We shall see.

          • paulcatanese

            Atta boy Tom,good article,I wish I had your’e knowledge of the minors that really is a plus.

          • paulcatanese

            Zonk, I dont think you are being rude as you are right we do need some pop in the lineup. The point I would make is I have been saying for a long time that
            Castro would be better at third as he has the arm,quick hands and good reflex for that position and would venture to say he would be a premire third baseman. As he grows into his body I also think he will improve his power and be more aware of the strike zone,all will benefit him. As for Barney, shortstop is his natural position and he would do very well there, very solid with the glove. And remember there are a lot of shortstops who have played and are in the hall of fame that had the similar type of power that Barney has. Although they were with the White Sox two come to mind, Aparicio, Carasquel and Rizutto, Yankees to name a few. As long as he can carry it defensivly and power is where it is supposed to be,corner outfielders,first base, and eventualy third it can happen. LeMahieu I take him as what has been said by others that have seen him as I do not have that kind of access to him. Right now we do not have any power at third base and have not for a while,plus the defense there has been very unsure. And we are talking about next year, or the near future not right now. I think I am showing my age here with those guys
            and cannot think of the shortstop that was with the Cardinals that did a flip when he came out to his position.

          • Mike1040

            The wizard of Oz. Ozzie Smith, I don’t know his stats, but wow, what a great baseball player.

          • paulcatanese

            Thank you Mike, I just couldnt think of his name.

        • Aaron

          Paul,

          I’ve agreed with most of what you’ve said on this site, but that idea is pretty terrible.

          #1-Barney’s range according to UZR is subpar at 2B. Imagine how poorly that will translate to SS. He might not make as many errors as Castro….but that’s more of a product of not getting to balls that Castro gets to, than being an above average defender.

          #2-Castro doesn’t have a enough power to be considered a 3B….yet….He might add some, and he has about as much power as ARAM this year, but he’s nowhere close to what you need at the hot corner.

          #3-As I mentioned above…I wasn’t aware of this before, but I looked into LeMahieu’s BABIP, and it’s through the roof. If you’re not familiar with that stat, here is the best example I can give to define it:
          http://www.examiner.com/mlb-in-national/baseball-101-what-is-babip-and-how-can-i-use-it
          *Pay attention to their example with Gavin Floyd…It can work with pitchers too. I was never really a fan of this stat, until this year when I read more articles about it that stated you could predict a player’s future stats by looking at this number.

          If you look at Flaherty: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa454406&position=2B/SS

          It appears that he would’ve been the safer bet to call-up. 

          Other BABIP superstars appear to be Brad Snyder, and Tony Campana, and Bryan LaHair.

          It should also come as no surprise that one could’ve predicted Soto’s decline simply by looking at BABIP. I never did this, just looked at consistency (which relates to BABIP), but never thought of looking at it from that angle, and just dismissed the stat as someone trying to make up a new stat to confuse everyone.

          Fangraphs is one of the greatest sites to look at to determine BABIP for minor leaguers.

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron, I bow to your’e superior knowledge on this. Just woke up or I would have responded sooner. I have never understood BABIP but will look it up. Just wishful thinking on my part,as I thought that Castro(which was the main ingredient of the post) would make a great third baseman or a center fielder.Not that he is a poor shortstop but would be sensational in one of the other two positions. He is such a good athlete that I am trying to stretch him to greater heights. But he would be exciting to watch wherever he plays. And thanks for the detailed response. 

  • Baron_S

    Truth:

    Without Castro & Barney (Maybe Sean Marshall thrown in!), this team would be completely unwatchable….. 

  • Aaron

    There has not in my lifetime, and probably never will be a true firesale with the Cubs. Almost every team in MLB has had a firesale, including most teams having done so recently, with several like the Rays, Brewers, Rockies, Rangers, Reds, etc. being prime examples of the successes of firesales.

    I don’t know why they haven’t had one, ESPECIALLY now, when they have a minor league system filled with position prospects.

    Right this moment, the Cubs could literally fill all of their positions with prospects, and not be any worse off than they are right now playing veterans, and that’s never happened in recent memory:

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-Ridling
    2B-Barney
    SS-Castro, M. Gonzalez
    3B-LeMahieu, M. Smith
    LF-Flaherty
    CF-Jackson, Campana
    RF-Spencer, Colvin

    Then, after this season, they could evaluate how these guys did, and they have another wave of prospects such as:
    C-Flores, Gibbs
    1B-Bour
    2B-Cerda
    SS-Lake
    3B-Vitters
    LF-Golden (not ready yet)
    CF-Szczur
    RF-Ha

    • Tno13

      In 5 years more of these guys will be selling Tupperware than playing major league baseball.

      • paulcatanese

        You know what? Even if they are not around in 5 years they made it to where they are now and that to me is an achomplishment. Many have tried but few were chosen.

      • Aaron

        I happen to agree with you, but like I’ve said numerous times on here…..the difference between a team of mostly veterans that finishes in 4th or 5th place and one that is mostly young players that finishes in 4th or 5th place is HUGE, because you have prospects getting valuable playing experience, and you know where your strengths and weaknesses are in the organization, and can address holes in FA, trades, and the draft, without risking blocking players you otherwise would be blocking if you never gave them a chance to prove themselves.