When the Cubs traded Starlin Castro to the Yankees to make room for Ben Zobrist, I was extremely saddened and angry about the entire transaction. I wrote an article boldly predicting that Castro’s numbers at the end of the regular 2016 season would be better than Zobrist’s. It’s time to see if I was right. The two tables below are from the MLB website.
First, we will examine Castro’s results:
Now, let’s look at Zobrist’s:
With 54 additional at-bats, Castro was able to surpass Zobrist in hits and homers. However, Zobrist produced more RBI in fewer at-bats. Also, according to the Baseball Reference website, he drew 72 more walks over Castro, which is indicative of his extreme patience at the plate. We know from formerly watching Starlin bat, that he is not good at being selective. Zobrist, on the other hand, has had four seasons in which he totaled over 90 bases on balls. Starlin has never walked more than 36 times in any given season.
But this article is not a comparison of career stats, which would be difficult to accomplish anyway because Zobrist has been playing four years longer than Castro.
What this article IS about is a retraction of my prior prediction. I embarrassingly admit to writing my former article in the midst of being upset over the loss of a player who I thought could help the Cubs achieve what Zobrist was able to do in a more efficient manner. Not only did Ben enjoy more overall productivity at the plate but his super-utility prowess at six different positions enabled him to achieve 37 additional put-outs over Castro defensively, who played only two positions during the course of the season.
I also would be even more remiss if I failed to mention what Zobrist did for the Chicago Cubs in the postseason. Again, we don’t have any comparison to make with Castro, because the Yankees were stopped cold in their tracks. It’s quite possible to believe that Starlin could have had a similar impact on a World Series bid. He is fully capable of equaling or even surpassing the cumulative postseason average of .255 that Zobrist had. However, could he have delivered the World Series MVP performance that Zobrist did? The Game 7 double that Ben hit was the catalyst that resulted in a final victory. It topped off an incredible Fall Classic performance with a .357 BA and .919 OPS. Wow. That’s consistency all right. The true mark of a special ballplayer.
Do I still miss Castro? You darn right I do. He had a pretty good year with the Yanks and could really shine in years to come. But my former emotionally clouded concerns about Zobrist’s age, knee and price tag proved to be entirely unfounded.
I stand corrected. And being wrong has never felt so good.