Starlin Castro Says He Doesn’t Need to Change and Other Bullets

The Wife and I will be heading to today’s game against the Red Sox, hopefully nestled into the lower right corner (if looking from home plate) of the right field bleachers. If you’re out there, stop by and say hello. I’ll be wearing my blue BN shirt, and a Cubs hat. I will be sitting next to a woman who is far too beautiful to be sitting next to me. Before the game, we’ll be at Goose Island on Clark, so stop by and have a beer.

  • Ian Stewart is seeing a specialist about his troublesome wrist, which landed him on the DL yesterday. Everyone hopes there isn’t serious damage or issues in there, but after dealing with the pain for so long, it’s time to get it figured out. “I don’t know at this point,” said Stewart, who will be examined at the Cleveland Clinic. “With all the MRI and X-ray results, nothing of major value came up in there that they say we need to get this done now or this would have been taken care of a long ago. There have been instances where things didn’t show up and they can go in and look and see if there are other things. I don’t know if we’ll go that route but it’s definitely a possibility.”
  • Starlin Castro talked about new hitting coach (interim) James Rowson, and how his approach might change. In short: it won’t, if Castro has his way. “I don’t have to change,” he said. “The walks and those kinds of things, they’re coming. I try to be more patient, but right now, the pitchers are throwing strikes. That’s all I can do, swing the bat. If the pitcher doesn’t throw strikes, I don’t swing. A lot of guys are [first-pitch hitters], and the hitting coach, he likes that. He said if you know your pitch, swing, even if it’s the first pitch.” Hmm.
  • Theo Epstein is the feature attraction as the Red Sox come to Wrigley, and he’s been on quite the media blitz over the last few days. You can see quite a few more quotes here, including Epstein’s belief that Cubs fans naturally seek out the positive, while Red Sox fans naturally seek out the negative.
  • David Haugh talks about the turnover happening in Chicago, and what’s to come.
  • MLBullets at BCB mostly discuss no-hitters, but there’s also a bit on the San Diego Padres’ sale, and how the team might go for $800 million or more. Holy smokes. How much must the Cubs be worth now?
  • Today’s the day of the fantasy baseball contest, so if you haven’t entered yet, you better do it now.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

145 responses to “Starlin Castro Says He Doesn’t Need to Change and Other Bullets”

  1. Norm

    I wonder if Castro knows he is swinging at about 33% more balls out of the zone?

    1. Luke

      I’m guessing he has a couple of coaches who are going to be pointing that out to him shortly.

      1. Cheryl

        He may have coaches that point it out but I doubt he’ll pay any attention.

        1. hansman1982

          seems like he paid attention when they were telling him what he was doing wrong in the field…

          1. Luke

            Yep.  I’m not worried about him.

        2. gabriel

          Cheryl you are a bonafide Castro hater! lol just kidding but truthfully he seems to work hard and do what he’s asked to do, so i’m not sure your comment has any basis

  2. jstraw

    Starlin is not very bright. I’m convinced of this. Whatever else he has going for him, brain power isn’t on the list.

    1. Can't think of a cool name

      Your’re conviced based on what?

    2. Dob2812

      Who’s not very bright, jstraw? Are you sure it’s Starlin?

  3. djriz

    ”I don’t have to change,” he said.

    Seems like Starlin misses Aramis.

    1. Cyranojoe

      No kidding! Sent shivers down my back. I’m wondering how much damage Jaramillo has done, and whether it’s recoverable… I’m sure everyone else thinks so, and no one here seems to put much stock in hitting coaches having, like, ANY impact on players, but dang… I don’t know…

  4. robert

    Whoa! the draft street is a different format than usual!

  5. ETS

    It’s hard to measure padres worth vs the cubs. For one thing, didn’t the padres just renew a media deal? You add in how leveraged the cubs were when the tribune owned them, the state of wrigley field. It’s really hard to compare them to other teams and say well the dodgers got 2.1b and the padres got x, we should be worth whatever.

    1. JB88

      I agree with all of this and I will add that the Padres have a new, spectacular stadium in the heart of SD’s Old Town district. It is a very nice ballpark, stealing a bit from a lot of older parks as well as Camden Yards.

    2. rcleven

      I believe I read the other day the team was selling for 600mm and the stake in ownership of Fox sports was selling at 200mm as a package deal.

  6. Jim

    I think Starlin is right. He is really not the problem on the Cubs. He is successful because he is aggressive. His walks will come, but for now fix the other guys that aren’t contributing!

  7. Tim

    this david haugh who wrote the article in the tribune in this post really enjoys ripping on the cubs. what a jerk

  8. Spoda17

    Picked my team Brett… prepare to lose bro… Just sayn

  9. Aaron

    Yeah, Castro is a moron. That quote is pretty typical for a kid who thinks pretty highly of himself, given his early success. There’s a reason why you have a .295 BA with a .308 OBP. The fact that he’s only been issued 6(!) walks is beyond me. As of today, he’s swinging at pitches outside the zone 41% of the time. Granted, he’s making contact with almost 70% of those pitches outside the zone, but when you compare that to his contact% of balls thrown in the zone (>90%), it doesn’t seem that great. Further, Castro’s must realize that he’s only been thrown a strike 46% of the time.

    Bottom line, with %s like that, it is by far a better approach to be patient at the plate and work the count, forcing the pitcher into a more favorable count for the batter where he HAS to throw a strike to avoid a walk. Theo & Co know what they are doing and know that this approach works. Not only will it lead to more runners on base and more runs, but it could also lead to the opposing pitcher leaving the game much earlier than anticipated due to a high pitch count. Either way, it’s a win.

    A commenter above stated that Castro must miss Aramis. I must say, the comparison is starting to be more clear, that’s for sure…

    (Source of statistics: FanGraphs –

  10. Wilbur

    The walks need to come, and if they do it will be because a 21 year old does some growing up and his philosophy to the game changes. All of us stubbornly do and say a lot of things when we’re 21 that we realize at 25, 30 or later were at best counterproductive or dumb.

    I submit the kid is in his third year of succeeding at level very few get an opportunity to even play at, let alone hit the way he does. His success is in the most demanding of environments against the best the world can throw at him. Allow him his youthful pride and hubris. Allow also that he is learning, and his focus right now is fielding not hitting.

    Will his batting philosophy mature quickly and he develop into the type of hitter player Theoyer wants? Personally, I doubt it, just a gut call. That belief doesn’t make him dumb, or less a ball player, just someone who plays the game differently. That difference may ultimately work him out of a future with the Cubs, but that’s another story for another year.

    1. Cyranojoe

      Where do we get this “the walks will come” mentality? I’m tempted to call BS. Who says that next year he’ll be more selective?

      1. Kyle

        The walks will never come, imo. But they don’t need to for him to continue to be a great player.

        Somewhere along the way we went from “Walks and OBP are underrated” to “Walks and OBP binary requirements for being a great player, and any player without them cannot be great.”

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          heh, true.  However, high OBP should be a trait of your top-of-the-order hitters.  Ultimately, the question is whether the Cubs can acquire enough high OBP guys to drop Castro to 6th or 7th in the order.

          1. Cyranojoe

            Good points on both sides. I don’t feel that walks are dead-on necessary for greatness, but dang, why not? And I didn’t have it in words, but yes, your top of the order guys should be getting on base at a great clip. Especially with such non-threats right behind him, why isn’t Castro getting on base a bit more often? What’s going to happen when he’s got the MLB-leading homerun masher Anthony Rizzo behind him? LOL…

            And HA to the idea of Castro dropping all the way to 6th! Yikes! On what kind of team would that happen??

            1. hansman1982

              A hit is preferable to a walk so you might not want Castro to go from 200 h + 30 BB down to 150 h + 80 BB unless those 150 hits increase his slugging enough to compensate for the drop in hits.

              Being more selective might mean trading 20 singles a year for 7 walks, 5 K’s, and 8 XBH. In that scenario it might make more sense for Castro to take an extra pitch or two an at bat. Earlier in the year the Cubs tried to take Jackson the other way and try to get him to swing earlier in the count, trade some BB’s for hits and it backfired and only increased his K’s.

              It may be that Cubs brass believes that Castro becoming more patient would not increase the XBH enough to offset the decrease in contact.

              1. Norm

                I would be happy if Castro just went back to last year and 2010′s walk rate.

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                “And HA to the idea of Castro dropping all the way to 6th! Yikes! On what kind of team would that happen??”

                The Sox.

                “you might not want Castro to go from 200 h + 30 BB down to 150 h + 80 BB unless those 150 hits increase his slugging enough to compensate for the drop in hits.”

                Walks come at the expense of multiple outs for every hit.  If you had a BABiP of 0.250, then you’d expect turning 50 ABs into walks to cost you 12 or 13 hits; so, you’d be looking at 185-190 his + 50 walks.

                (That might be generous: if you put the ball in play in a PA where you would have otherwise drawn a walk, then you probably helped out the pitcher by putting a poor pitch into play.)



                1. Cyranojoe

                  I tend to respect your posts, Doc — you always seem to have numbers to back them up — but the Sox? Is Dempster really that good right now, that he can treat a team with five better-than-Starlin hitters like a rented mule, holding them all down to just three hits in six innings?

                  That’s cool. :)

  11. Cubs Dude

    All the Castro hate is ridiculous. I feel like every time I read something about that kid on hear commentators talk all kinds of smack on him. Sure, he needs to be more patient. But I think he is a little of sorts and wants to be more patient and stay aggressive at the same time, but is a bit in between. With all the problems we have on the field right now, you guys want to talk sh** on Castro? Really?? It’s not like he is 22 or anything… I couldn’t disagree more.

    1. Can't think of a cool name

      Well said Cubs Dude.

    2. K Rock

      Agreed people can be a little harsh, and yes he is 22…..But the simple philosophy of working a count, finding your pitch (which results in a higher on base %, hits, and working a pitchers count total) are all things he should know and understand………Its simple baseball knowledge. At some point the age has to stop being an excuse and has to be held accountable for his mistakes…..The good thing is, he has plenty of time to work on this, and he has tremendous talent and if he just listens to coaches and works at it (you can see his improvement on defense) then he will be ridiculously good when he enters his prime in 5 years

      1. Noah

        The problem is that you can’t just look at Castro’s age in a vacuum. Castro starts getting more expensive next year. So it’s not just like we can say, “Well, most players don’t peak until he’s 27!” Because by the time Castro is 27 he’s going be a free agent if he isn’t extended. By the way, until Castro is able to get a Tulo type of extension, he’s not going to sign one. And he isn’t worth a Tulo type of extension. yet.

        Just because some of us are critical of Castro doesn’t mean we don’t like him. But we see the talent there, and know that the sort of improvement that can turn Castro into a truly great player doesn’t just happen without effort. The frustrating thing is seeing him get the count to 2-0 then hit a weak bouncer on a pitch a half foot out of the strike zone. His approach at the plate has been awful this year, and needs to improve.

        1. King Jeff

          There is no doubt that his approach needs to improve. He has the talent to hit just about any pitch thrown up there, he just need to work on harnessing that talent. Just like he has the ability to get to almost any ball in the field, he just needs to harness that. His fielding has improved, even if he has some errors. He’s currently rated second in the NL in defensive WAR in the NL, behind only teammate Darwin Barney. He was struggling with his fielding and he has made some adjustments, I don’t see why we can’t have the patience and confidence that he can take coaching and do the same with his hitting. I’m not really sure how much Rudy Jaramillo taught him, he seemed like a really hands of kind of hitting coach and Castro has been doing well. I wonder how much coaching he has received up to this point?

          1. Drew7

            “I don’t see why we can’t have the patience and confidence that he can take coaching and do the same with his hitting”

            Don’t you remember Jeff? Patience is something that can’t be taught, and Cub fans, like the players, don’t have it!

        2. Cubs Dude

          I get what you’re saying, but what he costs has nothing to do with the arguement that he will always have a terrible approach. It’s not his fault he was brought up when he still had developing to be done. Sure, he’s going to get expensive but that doesn’t mean he can’t improve like others his age who are in the minors. Trust me, I get frustrated as hell watching him at times, but I believe he can improve.

          1. Noah

            I think you’re mistaking what people are saying, though. I, at least, have not said that Castro will ALWAYS have a terrible approach. I have said that Castro has had a terrible approach for a large portion of this season, and it concerns me that he appears to have taken a step back at the plate.

            I am merely saying that no one can say with any level of certainty that Castro will in fact improve. There is a significant possibility (I would not say a majority possibility, but perhaps a 1 in 4 chance), that Castro’s offensive peak is what he showed last year. That he won’t keep improving up until age 27.

            I hope he does, and honestly if I could put Castro’s problems into a few sentences as to what I think his approach at the plate is right now, it would be this: “Sweet, I’m in a 2-0 count. The pitcher has to throw me a strike, so I’m just going to go ahead and swing at it no matter where it actually is.”

            Castro is frustrating right now because he has the talent to be great, but if the approach doesn’t meet the talent, there are some significant odds that we’ve already seen his offensive ceiling. And that would just be sad.

            1. Drew7

              “I, at least, have not said that Castro will ALWAYS have a terrible approach.”

              I’m not so certain its the approach. The way he swings at pitches out of the zone, I think its more of an indicator of poor pitch recognition myself. I find it hard to believe Castro is intentionally swinging at a pitch 1′ off the plate on 2-0 or 3-1.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                I can see one thing and one thing only that coaching might do to improve Cubs batters.  From comments we’ve read by Castro, Barney, Campana and others, it is pretty clear that it is drilled into them that you have to swing at strikes.  It’s almost like taking a strike is considered a mark of shame much more so than swinging at a pitch that you could not drive.

                Presumably, the Cubs system will start using coaches who preach swinging only at pitches you can hit hard.  Walks (and K’s) come as an outcome of this: by waiting for the first drivable strike, you frequently will go much deeper into counts than you will by waiting only for the first strike.  (Slugging likely goes way up with this approach, too.)

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Far, far fewer than one player in 4 peaks at 21.  Most guys with Castro’s build and playing middle infield typically peak in their late 20s.  The fraction that peak before 25 are almost certainly anecdotes more than data: either they had completely flukey seasons or they had career ruining injuries.

        3. Jwilson3985

          Yes, exactly, some logic on the table, agree with everything you just said.

  12. Can't think of a cool name

    First, of all we must be careful with Castro’s quotes. English is his second language and what he says may not be what he means. To call a 22 year old player a moron is a little harsh when you take this into context. Secondly, if Castro can have Ramirez’s career hitting wise, the Cubs are doing okay.

    Do I hope he develops a better approach as a hitter, absolutely! As of yesterday his OPS was still 11th out of 24th for all shortstops in the MLB.

    1. Aaron

      Maybe moron was a bit harsh, but I meant to imply that he’s young and stupid. He really needs to demonstrate that he’s willing to be coached and change just like the rest of them. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games, and he is out there implying that it’s not because of anything he’s done. If this is the guy we’re going to build around, which I’m fine with, he needs to learn these things.

      1. Cubs Dude

        Who knows what he is or isn’t trying to fix unless you’re in the clubhouse or field during practice. Just because he didn’t tell a reporter that he has to completely revamp his approach and is a mess at the plate doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to fix things. Personally, I think he is trying and it has effected his hitting in a negative way. He is definitely in between right now.

      2. Wilbur

        Weren’t we all, we just did it on a smaller stage …

        I understand your desire and hope to see that evolution myself. I’m also a believer though in the type of change we want to see is the exception versus the rule.

        That being said, enjoy watching the raw talent and look for the positives. If they don’t come along in a season or two we know what will happen …

        1. hansman1982

          I saw evolution in the “Last 10 Comments” sidebar and was hoping for another wonderful off-topic discussion today…

          1. Drew7

            I’m sure the Discovery Channel website would have something for you ;)

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            Should I put up my “The Evolutionary Biologist is IN” sign?  *peruses comments*  Umm, nah….

            When we are dealing with players deficiencies, you have to ask whether they are things that improve with age or coaching.  Batting eye certainly is unaffected by coaching: we are closer to immortality sera than we are to a batting eye panacea.  It could improve with age, but it fundamentally depends on whether Castro can reduce his “trigger” zone for his swing.

            Even then, Castro is a SS with a 0.760 career OPS and plus range.  That will improve with added power (which does come from age) even if it does not improve with OBP.  That helps you win, and you are not going to improve upon it easily.

      3. gabriel

        I don’t see how he hasn’t demonstrated he’s willing to be coached up – his defense has taken an astronomical leap from last year mostly based on footwork techniques that his coaches asked him to refine.

        And just because English is someone’s second language doesn’t make them stupid, which honestly that seems to be your only basis for saying something like that. His quotes should make more sense and sound “smarter” as he masters the English language – it is something Cub fans will get more used to over time.

    2. King Jeff

      I was just thinking the same thing. Every time I hear him in an interview, his awful grasp of the English language comes into play and makes for some pretty funny interviews sometimes. That said, he’s a young kid who obviously wasn’t show the proper ways of respect and humility. I remember Aramis Ramirez, and a few other veterans being leery of working with Rudy Jaramillo while they were slumping at points the last few years. Maybe some of that has rubbed off on Castro, and he doesn’t think he should need to listen to advice on his swing. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it seems like he’s a little overconfident in his own skills, and hopefully maturity will take care of it.

      1. Luke

        He made those comments after working with the new hitting coach.  Who says Castro doesn’t need to change: Castro, or the coach he was working with and about whom he was apparently asked?  I’m not sure we know the answer to that one just yet.

  13. Can't think of a cool name

    “They’re on pace to lose over 100 games, and he is out there implying that it’s not because of anything he’s done.”

    I don’t see anything in the article that implies this.

    “The walks and those kinds of things, they’re coming. I try to be more patient, but right now,”

    Seems like he’s trying to learn.

    The fangraphs article you liked calls him a tier 1 shortstop.

  14. Jwilson3985

    The whole “Castro is young, he’ll change in the future” argument is based on….what? Where is the empirical data that supports that claim? Based on the absolute confidence with which people proclaim this supposed truth, there must be an overwhelmingly rich data mine to sat Castro won’t swing at anything outside the zone next year. Soriano swung at sliders in the dirt in his 20s and 30s, and I see nothing that will convince this kid (come on, he’s not that bright, he’s not educated, he’s not schooled in critical thinking, he’s from a 3rd world country where survival takes precedence, not reasoning) of changing his approach, except perhaps a contract year.

    1. Cubs Dude

      Well considering that MOST players are still in the minors at his age developing, and he is younger than pretty much every one of our top prospects that people jock hard I think he can change. No one knows that he will grow into a more patient hitter, but we are all hoping. Nothing is certain.. I am not usually the guy that says this or cares, but some of your comments are pretty offensive.

      1. Jwilson3985

        I’m sorry that you think my words are offensive. I’m also sorry that political korrectness is pervasive in today’s messed up world. When someone says something that runs counter to logic and reflects utter stupidity (“I don’t need to change, yada yada”), I will say so. Again, I wish there was data to say Castro will become a patient, selective hitter, but I’m not confident he will change. He’s not young anymore, he has a history.

        1. King Jeff

          Hes’ 22, I don’t know how that makes him not young anymore. Junior Lake is the same age as Castro, both signed a few months apart, both had limited experience playing organized baseball, both had great natural gifts. Lake got a bigger bonus than Castro, and was thought to have more potential. Junior Lake has been learning the game at Rookie ball, A ball, and now double A. Castro progressed through that level in a little over 2 years. Both have been with the team going on 5 years. I think Castro is far more developed than Lake, but it’s not fair to say Castro can’t get any better at 22, when a player with a similar age and profile is just now starting out at double A, and is viewed as a much more raw player and is still developing. While you can’t say with certainty that he will develop more at the plate, to discount that he can is pretty short sighted.

          1. Cubs Dude

            Right on Jeff. People think since Starlin has been at the show for a couple years he can’t still develop. I don’t know if he will or not, but he could be hitting .450 at AA with power and speed and people would be talking about him like he was trout or harper.

      2. Patrick W.

        What evidence? How about his defensive improvement this very season? How is that not evidence he can use ‘critical thinking’ to change his approach? Silly comment.

        1. Jwilson3985

          See above Castro quote. Watch his ABs.

          1. Luke

            I wonder if Castro is saying he thinks he doesn’t have to change, or if he is relaying what his new hitting coach told him.  If the hitting coach is endorsing a ‘pick your pitch and attack’ philosophy, then Castro is right.  He does not have to change his approach as a result of having a new hitting coach.

            That part might be getting lost here.  Castro didn’t just pop out with this insight on his own.  The comments came in a section of the article discussing Castro working with the coach, James Rowson.  That little snippet looks / sounds bad, but when placed in context, I think he’s just talking about what he was told by his hitting coach.

    2. Kyle

      I’ll say this much. Most Cubs fans only hint around their racism against Hispanic players. I applaud you for being so overt.

      1. Glenallen Hill's One Home Run

        Yeah, that was pretty… out there. The DR may be a ways different than the USA (and, in all fairness, vastly poorer), but saying that the fight for survival is the reason that people there aren’t schooled is a pretty harsh generalization. I think the point that a lot of people are trying to make is that he is still trying to master English and that it’s silly to jump down his throat for something he said when there is a possibility that he meant something else. Also, calling him a moron for not grasping English to your standards is pretty short-sighted.

        1. Jwilson3985

          Ha, internet jurors. I’mracist because I made a generalization. Stereotypes exist for a reason. Further, I didn’t say Castro was like Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, I said he most likely didn’t receive an education and ‘suffers’ now because of that, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that true for most pro athletes? Just listen to a Tebow interview, the guy can’t even finish a sentence. I saw the ‘schools’ in the DR when I went on medical missions (BC racists do that stuff all the time) and it was pathetic. But find me guilty on the internet, I’m a 1 percenter, do I get life for that too? Haha

          1. Cubs Dude

            Man.. I hate the whole being political correct thing, I really do… But you take your comments are to a whole different level, Why would you think that sh*t would flies blows my mind..

  15. Edwin

    If Castro hits as well as Ramirez, that would be awesome.

  16. BD

    Not that I would ever force somebody to do so, but has anybody read Phil Rogers’ column today?,0,7627216.story

    #2 – He is on the verge of complaining that the Cubs called up Valbuena instead of Vitters, opining “Things have changed a lot since the Jim Hendry era.”

    Uh, yeah Phil- things have changed!! In case you’ve missed out on the last 8 months, there’s a new boss in town who isn’t going to rush every prospect to the big show.

    Is he serious?

    1. beerhelps

      I am constantly amazed that for a city the size of Chicago, there are only a handful of sports writers worth a crap. Phil Rogers and David Haugh are at the top of the crap list, bumping elbows there with Rosenbloom. It truly is pathetic.

      1. MichiganGoat

        There is some frustration with the Chicago sport writers over how tight lipped Theo and Co have been. They had an open door buddy relationship with Hendry, but Theo’s doors are closed very tightly. When he speaks it is very scripted and therefore the sport writers are very limited with news and quotes they can report. So the “news” is full of speculation and rumors.

        1. calicubsfan007

          I like it better this way though Michigan. We can have a better advantage in trades by keeping the cards close to the vest. I mean, look at the trades that Hendry accomplished and look at the trades Theo accomplished. Theo has given up less way more consistently than Hendry.

          1. Toby

            Exactly, when other teams know what packages are being offered by reading the teams bylines can teams can judge if they want to deal.

  17. Stu

    People need to give Theo a little slack. The real levers are being pulled by Ricketts. Theo is a front man to deflect what is really going on.

    It is all about the money. Ricketts overpaid for the Cubs and has to drastically cut payroll over the next couple of years. Period. The debt has to be paid down.

    It appears that all CUB fans need is a hint that SOMEDAY the CUBS will be competitive. Bring in a guy that has done it with another franchise and that buys you a couple of years. That is all Ricketts needs. It floors me that they can still draw the crowds that they do at the prices that they charge.

    The CUBS represent the best marketing scam ever in sports history. What other team over time has been rewarded so highly for such a bad product on the field. Ricketts family are masters at fooling people. Enjoy the $10 beers, $5 hotdogs and if they don’t win, well shucks that is a shame. At least we got to go to Wrigley Field.

    I live in Arizona and you know what happened after the Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001? They gutted the team, paid salaries for years after the players retired, and NOBODY went to the games. Crazy how CUBS fans don’t behave the same way

    1. WGNstatic

      It is called being a fan.

      I don’t mean to call you out Stu, but, it seems to me you are a fan. Perhaps you aren’t buying tickets or official Cubs merchandise, but, are you watching? listening? Somehow you seem to be following this team. You are a fan. A frustrated, ticked off, and annoyed fan? Perhaps, but a fan none the less. You are investing your time and energy into this team. That is what fans do, we invest our time and energy into “our” team.

      I, like many of us I imagine, would rather not think about the big money associated with the Cubs. I think of the salaries the players make as monopoly money, same for the profits to the owners etc.

      Yes, a day at the ballpark is expensive, and living in WI I don’t make it down very often. But when I do go, or buy my package, I don’t think about that money going into the giant pile of money that is MLB, I don’t think about giving the Ricketts or any Cub player $$. I pay the money because I want to follow the Cubs. The same reason I read this site.

      A fair weather fan doesn’t follow the team during the lean times. I am a fair weather fan of many other teams. The Bulls and Blackhawks most notably. When they are good, I will follow them, when they aren’t… not so much.

      A great many of those AZ fans that showed up in 2001 and not in 2005, they are fair weather fans.

  18. Drew7

    All caveats taken into consideration, I wanted to do a comparison. A little something to chew on –
    Slugging %: Though age 22

    Robin Yount – .362
    Robbie Alomar – .379
    Starlin Castro – .423

    Slugging %: Prime Years

    Yount (24-33) – .483
    Alomar (25-33) – .489
    Castro – ?

    I understand we are talking about HOF’ers and different era’s, but these guys both had similar career paths as Castro early in their careers. Yount and Alomar showed 31.6% & 29%, respectively, from before age 23 to their prime years. If, for example, Castro showed even a 15% increase, we’re looking at an OPS of .823 (AND that’s assuming he doesnt show the increase in BB-rate these guys showed, each jumping >10%)

    1. Glenallen Hill's One Home Run

      Holy crap, that’s pretty interesting.

    2. Edwin

      Through age 22:

      Gary Templeton -.405
      Jim Fregosi – .432
      Will Cordero – .430

      I like your ideas, but you’re cherry picking stats and names. Part of why Robin Yount became a hall of famer was that he was able to improve his game so dramatically. Comparing Castro to Yount just because of similar age/position doesn’t real accomplish anything, since Yount obviously wasn’t a typical player.

      1. Kyle

        Templeton had a pretty good career, but it was derailed by knee injuries. It wasn’t lack of ability that kept him for becoming a HOFer.

        The reason Castro keeps getting compared to HOFers is because the list of players who have accomplished what he has at the same age is more than half-full of HOFers.

      2. Drew7

        I’m obviously cherry-picking names; I’m not gonna list every SS in the history of baseball that began his career at age 20. Those were just the 2 names that came to mind as players with successful careers who began those careers at a very young age (Yount, specifically, because he is on the short list of players with more hit than Castro through age 22). I think you cherry-picked way more than I did:

        Templeton suffered from chronic knee problems most of his career after a hot start
        Will Cordero had ONE above average season
        I’ll give you Fregosi

        “…since Yount obviously wasn’t a typical player.”

        Love him or hate him, if you think Starlin Castro IS your typical player, you’ve been misinformed.

        1. Edwin

          Of course I cherry picked. That was my point. Comparing any one player to another based on one statistic is misleading. It’s misleading to compare Castro to Templeton, just like it’s misleading to compare Castro to Yount.

          1. Drew7

            I compared Starlin to players who:
            Play SS
            Logged a great deal of PA’s before the age of 22
            Showed the ability to produce at a high level before age 22
            That, when they hit the age most players begin their prime, showed an increase in power.

            I stated in my original post all caveats apply; I’m not saying hes going to be a HOF’er. Kyle said it best: He was compared to these guys because these are 2 of the very select few players that have shown this level of production at his age.

            Comparing any one player to another based on one statistic is misleading

            Catcher’s ERA is misleading; showing how a promising young player can show an increase in power with age isnt.

  19. Ogyu

    I thought the new baseball gospel is that batting average is an overrated stat and that a lot more weight should be put on things like OBP, OPS, wOBA, or Runs Created. If you view Castro in that light, he looks like a fairly average hitter who appears better than that to many people because he has a high batting average. True, he’s young, so maybe he has the time develop into a more patient hitter, but I have not yet seen any evidence that he’s moving in that direction. Overall, it seems to me that if there’s a team willing to offer a trade package that values Castro as if he were a league-top-ten player, the Cubs should accept that offer.

    BTW, I like Castro and will be very happy if he has a long and successful career with the Cubs. My opinion above is based on my view of the numbers. It has nothing to do with any subjective assessment of Castro’s attitude or his linguistic skills. So if any of you call me a Castro hater, I’ll slap you with a wet noodle.

    1. Kyle

      While that’s absolutely true that Castro’s BA can be overvalued by people aren’t aware of more advanced offensive metrics, it’s equally true that people can severely underrate him if they are aware of those but unaware of the impact defensive position has on offensive value.

      1. Ogyu


      2. Jack Weiland

        His average isn’t empty, at all. Empty averages are overvalued. Castro is just a good hitter. His wOBA last year as a 21 year old was the 8th best in all of Major League baseball.

    2. Jack Weiland

      Two things:

      #1 – Age relative to league is immense. In his age 20 and age 21 seasons (when most players are in A-ball) Starlin Castro put up above average offensive seasons at the game’s highest level. That’s really, REALLY incredible. Ryne Sandberg had worse offensive numbers in his first full season as a MLer, and he was 23 at the time. Worse numbers three years older than when Castro made his debut. Just think about that for a minute.

      #2 – He’s having a down year, but it’s been a relatively small sample compared to his two previous years, and there’s no reason to think he can’t get his numbers back to where they were in 2010 and 2011 by the end of the year. And beyond.

      There’s so much to like about Starlin Castro. He has warts, as all players do, but there is so, so, SO much to be pleased about. Why nitpick on the one good thing the big club has going?

      1. Cyranojoe

        The reason we nitpick Castro is the same reason that some of us complained passionately about Aramis. In fact, I’d bet the two groups overlap significantly. We see a MASSIVELY talented player on the cusp of greatness, and we want so desperately to see that greatness achieved… but the player goes out and says or does things that suggest he’s UNWILLING to do what we think is necessary to reach that vaunted goal.

        Sorry for the caps, but I wanted to emphasize those words. These are the things that drive us batty. Saying you don’t need to change? Look, I’m not saying he affirmatively *does* need to change. But I am saying that that’s a horrible way of looking at things. There’s a big difference between “I don’t need to change” and “I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve. If I’ve got to change, I’ll change.”

        We look at Castro as we looked at Aramis. Just adapt, dude, and keep doing it, and next thing you know you’re gonna be in the Hall of Fame… come on!

        I know it can’t all happen overnight. These things will come. Just as with his great defensive improvements (something Aramis never really showed, which is especially encouraging in terms of THAT comparison), there’s every chance that he will improve his approach at the plate to the point where we feel he’s reached his potential. Our fears, if not exactly baseless, will ultimately be put to rest. I sure as hell hope so!

        In the meantime, there’s the waiting… oh, the waiting! And we all, all of us Cubs fans, understand the torture of waiting.

        I’m still trying to understand the completeness of my reaction to Castro’s latest comments and his past indiscretions, but I think this is a good start towards that.

        1. Kyle

          I agree that the reasons are similar to why Ramirez was so often criticized. But I don’t agree with what you think the reasons are.

          Funny how all the players heavily criticized as talented by lazy in recent years by the local media share one characteristic. Or rather, share that they lack a certain characteristic.

          1. Cyranojoe

            Disagree. Passionately. The words “I don’t have to change” mean so much more than a man’s skin color, I don’t even know where to begin.

            Race may be the reason why some in the press and public choose to rail on them, but it’s not mine. And honestly, I’m doubtful it’s that much theirs. There’s a fair number of non-whites in sports today, in case you haven’t noticed, and we’re not bemoaning how the entirety of sport is lazier than it used to be. Hell, it’s transparently obvious that athletes work harder and train smarter as a whole than they used to in decades past.

          2. Patrick W.

            I agree with Kyle. Aramis Ramirez was/is just plain slow. He’s slow, get over it. Compare the heat he took and the reasons assigned to his slowness (doesn’t hustle, doesn’t care, is lazy) to the pure hilarity in which a guy like Adam Dunn is seen, as just a big slow white guy. Nobody calls Adam Dunn “lazy” or say he doesn’t care. There’s a reason for that, and it has a little to do with where they were born. I don’t think it’s deniable.

            1. Cyranojoe

              But I don’t see “lazy”. I see POTENTIAL FOR AWESOMENESS. Maybe others see lazy. Whereas in Adam Dunn, I do NOT see AWESOMENESS POTENTIAL. I see “big dude who slings lumber and lumbers around, but will never be more than pretty darn good, maybe great for a time”.

              (Wow, I’m going caps crazy today. Sorry about that!)

              I don’t know Dunn’s numbers or his career arc — did he ever seem to have HoF potential? I seem to recall someone suggesting that in a sports article, and me chuckling at the idea… but perhaps it was true, and I’m just looking at him with different perspective than others.

              Anyway, my point is that if you’re going to tag my perspective as different re: Dunn v. Ramirez, it’s that I think Dunn is greatly limited and Ramirez not nearly so limited.

            2. Jack Weiland

              Actually JP Riccardi (sp?) said exactly that once, famously. “Did you know Adam Dunn doesn’t like baseball?” I believe was his response once to whether or not the Jays were going to trade for him.

              1. Jack Weiland

                I get your overall point, but players of all colors are unfairly painted in ways that are really insane. I’m sure the percentage is higher for non-whites, and that’s totally unfair, but everyone gets blasted for stuff like that and most of it is 100% made up garbage.

                1. Cyranojoe

                  Totally agree with you on that.

              2. Patrick W.

                Good point. Did you know that Adam Dunn had 19 stolen bases in 2002?

                1. Jack Weiland

                  haha I do remember at one point he was a “power/speed” guy in my fantasy league.

                  I also recall a game when he played for the Reds, made three errors in the first inning as a LFer, and then caught a routine fly ball and raised his arms in triumph while the crowd gave him a standing O.

        2. Jack Weiland

          I mean, I get that, I suppose. Wanting him to maximize his potential. But being frustrated with that comment? I’m inclined to believe we don’t really know the context of it fully, at least from the snippet given here: was it his idea or his new hitting instructor’s? It’s not clear.

          And anyway, I just kind of think about myself at age 22, and if there was a recorder in front of my face, and holy hell what would people have written about me.

          He’s 22. He’s been really good so far, especially considering his age. Let’s enjoy that and hope for the best. Picking him apart on a message board won’t ultimately change anything, nor will it probably make you feel any better.

          Just my thoughts. Obviously you’re free to disagree, and handle it in your own way.

          1. Jack Weiland

            And also, to counter you’re point that seems to be “we have nothing better to do” … I choose to look at Castro and see the ONE thing that is going alright for the big league team, and enjoy that. Castro is the bright spot in an otherwise completely lost season. Fretting about the one part of the team that is pretty good and will probably only get better? Makes no sense to me.

            1. Cyranojoe

              I agree with you, except the not understanding why we fret. We fret exactly because he’s the one super bright spot — he’s our Moses, the one who will lead us from the wastelands of 2011 and 2012 into our bright shining future, but what if he can’t take a goddamn walk when he needs to and what does that say about the path he’s going to take us ohmygodohnooooes!!


              So, yeah. Much more concerned/interested/worried about Starlin’s performance than, say, DeJesus or Stewart or even Soriano, because none of them are gonna be here in 2015. Maybe not even next year. Indeed, Starlin’s the one certainty we have about 2014+, if we can have any certainty about anything that happens 3 years from now in baseball. With all the hope aimed at that distant future, we focus on the elements we can see, and want it to get as good as it can get. :)

              1. necusfan

                I think Moses dies prior to getting to the promised land, just sayin.

                1. Cyranojoe

                  D’oh! LMAO here’s hoping I was wrong, then…!

              2. Jack Weiland

                I don’t see that as something to fret about. I see that as something to be excited about.


                1. Cubs Dude

                  Weiland you are the posting king! More posts per minute than I have ever witnessed. Good for you buddy!

                  1. Jack Weiland

                    I had a lot of coffee this morning.

                2. Cyranojoe


                  We all express our excitement in different ways, and at different times. Most of the time, yeah, I’m all crazy happy. But sometimes, yeah…

        3. Edwin

          Aramis Ramirez came to the Cubs when he was 25. Most fielding metrics have him slightly improving over his tenure with the Cubs, until he turned 31, and his defense started to decline. Which is natural. Most skills decline at around that time, so I don’t know why that would come as a surprise.

          The idea that Aramis Ramirez never improved his fielding is a myth. He totally did. He posted better UZR numbers, he posted better fielding %. I’ll trust even flawed metrics like those over rumor and hearsay any day. Ramirez also increased his walk rate, decreased his K rate, and increased his power as a Cub.

          My biggest fear is that Castro will turn into Aramis Ramirez. Castro will be a great player, will sign a big deal with the Cubs, and will forver be criticized for the things he does poorly instead of appreciated for the things he does well.

          1. Cyranojoe

            Ohhtay, good points all around. I *know* Aramis was a good player and probably the best on the Cubs for a long time (in competition with DLee), but dammit he still drove me crazy. I still think he had HoF in him. And I know that’s more gut and faith than logic and analysis. :-P

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      Castro is valuable as he is now simply because he’s a career OPS 0.76 hitter at the age of 22 while playing SS.  As Drew7 noted, the slugging half of OPS (and proportions of wOBA) increase with age.

      There is another, completely separate issue here, and that is whether Castro should be a top-of-the-order hitter.  In a good lineup, he wouldn’t be.  But here is the rub: the only guy on the Cubs current roster who should be a #1 or #3 hitter in a good lineup is DeJesus, and they do not have anybody who should be a #2 hitter in a good lineup.

  20. Cheryl

    Why Doc are you saying that players improve with age? Are you including LaHair in that analysis?

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Slugging improves with age because players fill out physically through their mid 20′s.  That is the most likely cause of the improved slugging in the examples Dale7 cites.  (This is a combination of physical growth, years of hitting the weight room, etc.)

      LaHair is not really relevant: he’s already middle-aged, rounding towards old.  He might be a “late bloomer” but odds are that we are seeing him at his peak, especially given the fact that he does not hit lefties and it’s really improbable that he’ll learn how to to that now.

      1. Cheryl

        Well, it looks like you needn’t worry about him being with the cubs much longer. ESPN had a brief note that the cubs were looking at Clevinger in a pinch hitting role and playing first.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          That’s more consistent with the Cubs looking to keep both Soto and Castillo on the roster.  It’s tough for a team (particularly an NL team) to keep 3 pure catchers on a team.

          1. hansman1982

            Clevenger can play backup 1b and 3b I believe so he could slot into Jeff Baker’s role.

      2. Drew7

        Who is Dale7, Doctor?

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Your evil autocorrect typo twin…..  (Or I must be thinking about how much I’m looking forward to The Hobbit!)

  21. mudge

    “Maybe moron was a bit harsh, but I meant to imply that he’s young and stupid.” Thanks for clearing that up.

  22. Cheryl

    The WHOLE team and the manager are responsible for the cubs record. Castro is young and his opinion about not having to change may be something lost in translation. And we, the fans, have a tendency to zero in on one player and perhaps misconstrue his words But he does come off at times like all the other players are responsible for the record and that he’s doing just fine. I’m sure he doesn’t want to give that impression, but that is what misunderstanding can convey.

    1. Jack Weiland

      Lost in translation, OR it might be his coaches have told him: “Hey, we like what you’re doing, keep doing it and we feel like the rest of the numbers will come.”

      Both good reasons to not get all excited about these comments. Also he’s 22.

  23. hardtop

    Castro is nuts. he absolutely needs to change. he constantly looks at first pitch strikes, and ends up throwing his bat at stuff outside the zone. he often makes contact on balls those, but he cant direct or drive them. obviously he isn’t aware of his own approach, or lack there of, or the results of his “hitting philosophy”. he looks at strikes and swings at balls. see his third at bat in today’s game for an example: he took two right down the pipe to start of the at bat.

    1. Can't think of a cool name

      “he constantly looks at first pitch strikes”

      Isn’t this evidence that his is trying to change? The knock on Castro is that he swings at everything near the strike zone. I got home in time to see his last at bat today. First two pitches were off speed stuff for strikes. He laid off them. Perhaps he was looking for a fastball to drive. Next two pitches balls, seemed like he had good plate recognition and did not swing. Fifth pitch, I think a fastball slightly outside the strike zone. It looked like his mind was telling him to lay off but at the last instance he took a weak swing. This is a pitch we have all seen Castro hit. Maybe I’m reading way to much into one at bat but it looked like he was trying to work deep into an account to me.

  24. die hard

    Castro would be fine for the next 10 yrs in a Cub uniform if put in outfield and let him bat 6th….too much pressure on this kid and if not careful he will implode like Cory Patterson did…as for Barney, hes the second coming of Glenn Beckert….

  25. die hard

    Tyler Colvin’s line so far in case Cubs have forgotten about him…Who’d they get for him?

    2012 Regular Season

    47 121 16 35 6 3 7 20 6 34 1 2 .289 .320 .562 .882

    1. Toby

      What is your point?

      1. Chris

        Theo/Jed’s first bad trade. They may have gotten too wrapped up in Colvin’s numbers from last season. Quade didn’t do him any favors by playing him sparingly every couple of weeks. LeMahieu might end up being a good player too. Stewart is a bust and the relief pitcher is disabled in AA. And like Steward, he was BAD before he was hurt. They took a shot on a guy that was once a highly touted prospect (Stewart), and it didn’t work. Colvin’s numbers are slightly inflated due to Coors Field, but I would have rather seen him playing every day in RF than have them sign DeJesus. I like DeJesus as a good character veteran and all, but they need more pop in the lineup. And Colvin is not bad defensively either. LeMahieu/Baker/Valbuena/Cardenas/DeWitt/Vitters could have held down 3rd this year. Oh well. Win some lose some. If this is the worst move they make, I can live with it.

        1. Cubs1967

          actually the marshall trade was the 1st bad trade. colvin was 2nd. and asking where he could play is just stupid; soriano needs to go so there is a spot for him plus lahair if not traded along with campy and bjax. getting dejesus was a waste of 10M. theo got ants in his pants and started launching guys getting NO assets back. we basically donated marshall-colivn and lemaheui for nothing. plus we wasted 10M on dejesus.

          here’s the RF now in the NL; dejesus is 14th at best:

          werth-hurt now
          newheuis-mets- dejesus’ stats are worse YTD

          tabata-dejeus is better-more expensive


          here’s hoping theo gets his head in the game for the dempster-soto-soriano-maybe garza trades.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Cry, cry, cry always with the Marshall trade. TWood is looking like a good 4/5th starter, Marshsall was a bust as a closer and is at his best a 8th inning guy. That does nothing for a team rebuilding. Quit crying about that trade it didn’t hurt this team- it did strengthen the farm and the rotation. Move on.

            1. Toby

              Have people gotten over the DeRosa trade yet? The Marshall trade might go on longer.

              1. Glotzbach

                The DeRosa trade benefited the Cubs, when DeRosa left he hardly played because he was always injured. Out of the 3 prospects we got two of them fizzled and one we traded to get Matt Garza. Now we might sign Garza to a long term contract to be an anchor in the rotation or we might trade him for more young surplus talent. I think we won that trade.

              2. MichiganGoat

                Yeah occasionally someone will bitch about that trade, even though we got Archer who was the cornerstone of the Garza deal. Too much short sidedness when trades happen the real value takes 3-5 years to realize.

            2. Cubs1967

              i know you think someone died and make you the baseball god on this site with your constant childlike criticisms of other posters, but have some facts to back up your BS; not your just call others names; safflet hitting .220 does NOT help the system nor does torreyes hitting below .200 do anything; marshall was 29; not 39 so if team theo wants to contend in the next 3-4 yrs, marshall still would be young and a lefty.
              t wood had a ERA over 4.50; so yes, cry that your comments make no fucking sense and cry that the marshall and stewart trades suck. theo is NOT a god; he can screw and he did. get over it.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Wow someone is grumpy, I simply pointed out that you come on here regularly to cry about the Marshall deal. You can throw out how low BA are for players but the smart baseball move is to trade a player you don’t plan on resigning and get three young players with high upside. And 4.50 ERA is not bad for a 4/5 starter.

                And stop with the swear word, stop taking anyone who questions you personally- stop it or take it elsewhere. Childish swearing and screaming will get you no respect here.

              2. Norm

                Watch and see how Marshall performs in 2014 and 2015, and watch and see how T.Wood, Torreyes, and Sappelt perform in those years. If Marshall gives more production then those three, THEN you can say Theo was wrong.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Nah, just stomp your feet and scream loudly that’s the responsible way to behave here.

                  1. @cubsfantroy

                    That is how I do it. lol

                    I won’t comment on anything about the trades because I didn’t mind either trade.

          2. Glotzbach

            Get over it.

    2. MichiganGoat

      Fine but again, where would he play? We had a gluttony of OF and if we had him where would he play? DeJesus is better than him and currently Soriano is better. He can’t play CF and when Rizzo comes up LaHair might get some OF time. Plus if BJax moves up we have another OF to find playing time for not to mention Campana. So again the question is where do you play him? Oh and now you want to move Castro to the OF. Come on die hard please tell me this is all brilliant satire… Please.

      1. Chris

        As I was just saying in a different post, I think a younger guy like Colvin with more power in his bat would have been better in RF than DeJesus. DeJesus is Fukudome, just getting paid more in line with what he’s truly worth. They are most likely going to move LaHair, so I don’t think it matters when they bring Rizzo up. Given that this was a rebuilding year, I’d rather just see the younger guy playing every day than trade him away for a bust 3rd basemen and sign a veteran to play RF. I get it though. Colvin strikes out alot and that’s against everything Jed and Theo believe. Stewart’s been nursing this injury for 3 years and may be done for the season. And the other “prospect” is a 27 year old washed out relief pitcher in AA who is also hurt. LeMahieu is either starting in AAA or he may be on the bench with the big club as I write this. Colorodo wins this trade.

        1. Jimmy james

          Maybe they envisioned a soriano, Colvin, Jackson outfield and had nightmares about the number of k’s in one season

        2. MichiganGoat

          Win yes, but it was a worthwhile gamble, we lost nothing more than a fourth OF (LaMahieu sp? Is the real question mark but again we have a lot of AAA infielders). So I just don’t see all the gnashing of teeth about this trade, we traded from a surplus and might have busted… Oh well nothing gained nothing lost.

          1. Toby

            The Colvin trade is something that most teams do: trade from a surplus to address a position of need.

            1. Cubs1967

              we needed a .200 hitter? with a sore wrist??


              1. MichiganGoat

                Again it was taking a gamble by trading players we had nowhere to play and had not shown success (Colvin). These are minor trades and really not worth this much hair pulling and complaining.

                1. Kyle

                  I’m still scratching my head as to why people are so worked up over losing Tyler Colvin.

                  A brief, thin-air-fueled hot streak doesn’t change the fact that he’s bad at baseball. We traded garbage for garbage.

                  1. GoldFinch

                    I’m not worked up over Colvin, and I am a person that gets easily irked.(LOL)

                  2. MichiganGoat

                    Precisely, yet he has some people who absolutely think he’s player with great potential. I guess this is scrappy love at his finest.

                2. Cooper R

                  We’d probably be in first place had we kept Colvin and LeMahieu…hah

                  I was on board with trading Marshall but I was hoping for a better return.

            2. MichiganGoat

              Yup but some just don’t see it that way