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Chicago Cubs super prospect Starlin Castro has been raking at AA this year, and, together with his AFL dominance last fall and his impressive Spring Training, he’s proving that he’s just about ready to try on his big boy shoes.

The Cubs, apparently, have noticed.

Chicago Cubs prospect Starlin Castro’s ascension to the major leagues could be right around the corner, according to a major-league source.

The 20-year-old shortstop is being monitored on a daily basis by the Cubs organization to determine when the time will be to start his major-league career.

Castro has been hitting over .300 and playing solid defense all month at Double-A Tennessee.

There are more than a couple of issues involved in promoting Castro. One is moving current shortstop Ryan Theriot to second base, and the other is deciding to move one of their backup infielders, either Chad Tracy, Mike Fontenot or Jeff Baker.

Before the Cubs organization decides to promote Castro, it wants to make sure a gameplan is in place for playing him at least five or six times per week. Manager Lou Piniella and his staff will be a part of that process and will help general manager Jim Hendry and his staff make that determination. ESPN Chicago.

Thoughts:

1.) Defensively, the move would make the Cubs better. Castro is likely to be better than Theriot at short, and Theriot at second is likely to be at worst a push, and perhaps slightly better than Fontenot/Baker.

2.) Offensively, the move could very well make the Cubs worse. Castro, for all his AA dominance, is going to be a 20-year-old kid facing big league pitching for the first time. There are only so many Jason Heyward and Ike Davis stories out there. Most kids are dominated when the first step up to the bigs.

3.) I don’t think anyone would shed a tear at this point to see Chad Tracy released.

  • N

    Not sure Castro will definitely be better defensively right away. I’m sure he’ll have more range than Theriot, but Ryan’s is more steady in other parts. A young shortstop with a big arm is going to throw away a lot of balls to first. I wouldn’t judge a player solely on Errors, but until they come up with UZR for minors, the 39 errors Castro made last year stick out.

    The easy comparison is with Elvis Andrus. Every advanced defensively system says Andrus was better than Theriot last season (and I agree) but Andrus still nearly doubled Theriot’s errors. If Castro isn’t hitting right away (and no one should expect him to) and is airmailing throws that even D Lee can get to, I don’t expect this management group to show a lot of patience and nothing good can come of that. Ask Felix Pie.

  • jstraw

    There is nothing to lose at this point. And this sort of handwringing:

    “There are more than a couple of issues involved in promoting Castro. One is moving current shortstop Ryan Theriot to second base, and the other is deciding to move one of their backup infielders, either Chad Tracy, Mike Fontenot or Jeff Baker.”

    …is stupid.

    Issues? ISSUES? Move Theriot to second and hand Tracy a bus ticket.

    • ed

      concur

  • brian

    I still have a question about Vitters. Has anyone heard if he’s been playing any first base at all this year? I remember reading that the organization was going to start trying him at first and I haven’t really heard all that much about it recently. Castro being called up is great and all but this could be an answer to the void at first next year supposing Lee is either moved mid season or the front office doesn’t resign him. Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this.

    • Ace

      Nope, no first yet. His defense at third is supposedly getting better. Ramirez could be gone (in theory after this year, but more likely) in 2012, so I imagine the Cubs are hoping Vitters can man third from then on.

      As for first base, the Cubs probably wanted to have the flexibility to consider getting one of the big time free agent first baseman, but will likely have to bring Lee back for at least one more year.

  • mwing

    I think you bring up Castro sooner rather than later. I agree with jstraw that there really isn’t anything to lose. This kid is supposed to be the next coming and it is almost impossible to find a scout or gm anywhere say a bad thing about him. Bring him up now in May, so he can get his feet wet. And hopefully come July or August he’s a solid mlb’er. The best part is that the Cubs have a veteran line-up that wouldn’t require Castro to have to do much at all. If he can just come close to Fontenot and Baker’s output (that shouldn’t be too difficult) we should be fine. And his defense isn’t anything any of us should worry about. He’s a stud.

    • wax_eagle

      Saw Castro this weekend,

      I came away thinking that the kid can hit (he was 1-3 with a sac fly and an RBI, also a walk!). But his glove could use some work. He made a throwing error in the first because he was rushing a double play. Later he bobbled a ball and caused the second baseman to make a throwing error because they were both in too much of a hurry. Finally he, the second baseman and the center fielder couldn’t get together later on a pop up behind second base to catch it and it fell for a base hit.

      I think he is going to be a great major league player, but he still needs some time to calm down and work on not being in such a rush even if he doesn’t have a lot of time. The kid is 20, patience will come.

  • mikaylaaa

    Brett, I just started reading bleacher nation in about October of 2011. I was just curious what people were saying about Starlin Castro when he was called up, so I was exploring older articles. Isn’t it funny how things turn out? He ended up being incredible offensively, and is still struggling a little defensively.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Oh yeah. I’m sure there are a bunch of funny things we all thought if you go back a couple years. Castro probably was an overall defensive upgrade at the time, but yeah, he was also a healthy offensive upgrade. I actually probably forget 50% of the things I’ve written over the years.

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