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Starlin Castro’s struggles this year have been well-detailed, and it is not debatable that he’s been a below average bat on the year (92 OPS+). When you’re a rising star on a crappy offense, those struggles – and that below-averageness – will become magnified, perhaps unfairly. And everyone will try to piece together “the fix.”

A popular quick fix suggestion for a guy who’s struggling is to play with his spot in the lineup. Move him up so he’ll see better pitches. Move him down so there will be less pressure. That’s certainly been the case with Castro, who’s been described as everything from an ideal leadoff hitter, to a prototypical second hitter, to a middle-of-the-order type. But no one has yet suggested the spot where he probably makes the most sense right now: the bottom of the order.

Until, that is, Cubs manager Dale Sveum dropped some truth about Castro’s proper place right now, all things considered.

“The way his approach to hitting is, I don’t think he really knows where he’s hitting in the lineup, so that makes me a little more comfortable with [moving him],” Sveum said of Castro, per Carrie Muskat. “He’s kind of a ‘cut and slasher’ [type hitter] so no matter where he is in the lineup, it won’t change his approach anyway …. What makes sense, the way he hits, not really working counts and working walks, probably in a real world, in a prolific offense, it would probably be more the sixth or seventh spots really.”

Some folks saw those comments and took it as Sveum ripping on Castro, but I just don’t see it. The kid – whose future remains extremely bright – is an impatient, hacking swinger without a ton of power. His OBP is barely above .300 (it’s currently .304). In a lineup full of quality hitters, why on earth would he be hitting any higher than 6th or 7th? How is that even debatable?

To me, Sveum was simply stating the obvious, while couching it in a call to action. He was saying, “Starlin: there are some things you need to work on in your offensive game if you’re going to become a top third hitter.”

That all said, given that this year has become about learning and preparing for the future, this discussion – while interesting – is entirely beside the point. The question is not where does Castro hit in an optimized and prolific lineup. The question is where should Castro be hitting right now to best prepare him for the future.

Is that spot number 5? Number 3? Number 2? I can see a good argument for each of those spots.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    I don’t believe there is any doubt about the ability of Starlin Castro as a future star in this league. I applaud Dale Sveum because all he is saying is “you ain’t there yet kid”. Some people respond well to these types of challenges. Some don’t.

    That being said, I believe Starlin Castro could be a a staple at SS and an upper tier hitter at his position for another 10 years. I love what this kid brings to the table. The only thing that is troubling for some….is that he is still so young, and still makes many of the same mistakes that 22 year old kids make.

    I love the upside. I love what he has done so far. I am a believer. I think what is needed is a veteran SS presence to show him what it means to be a pro. An Omar Vizquel type player who’s job it is to simply be in his ear every day.

    • cubmig

      You may be right about Castro needing a SS vet “model”, because what I have been seeing is too much Soriano type habits at the plate.

  • Rodney

    Len Kasper touched on this a while back and caught a lot of flack, but it makes perfect sense. Castro does need to take more walks and be WAY more selective at the plate. He’s such a good contact hitter that he ends up making a lot of bad contact just because he can get to just about any pitch location. He’s been a victim of some bad luck as his BABIP is his lowest since AA and 40 points below his ML average. So there’s no reason to believe he won’t return to being a consistent .300 hitter by the law of large numbers. But he will never be an elite hitter until he learns to control his at bats and not do pitchers favors by swinging at pitcher’s pitches.

  • Nathan

    I think Dale Sveum opens his big mouth too much

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, it is good to read this from Dale. Too many past Cubs managers would look at Castro’s speed and his BA and say “He’s a perfect #1/#2 hitter!” Sveum clearly is looking at what matters: OBA.

      Realistically, a free-swinging guy with moderate pop will create the most runs for his team batting lower in the order. The speed actually is more valuable there, too: a stolen base in front of a #7 or #8 hitter is more apt to create a run that would not have otherwise scored than is a stolen base in front of a #2 or #3 hitter.

      (Assuming that you have appropriate hitters at the top of the order, that is!)

  • DocPeterWimsey

    So there’s no reason to believe he won’t return to being a consistent .300 hitter by the law of large numbers.

    The same Law of Large Numbers dictates that a consistent 0.300 hitter will have stretches like this purely by chance. Castro’s core numbers have not changed: only the resulting number of singles has.

    • BeyondFukudome

      And what justifies any certainty about the notion that Castro is a consistent .300 hitter to begin with? The kid has only 1600 ABs in his career. Garry Templeton, who’s early career was statistically similar to Castro’s in some respects, hit .307 over the first 2657 ABs of his career and thereafter proceeded to hit only .253 for the remainder of his career. According to any law of large numbers, he was a consistent .271 hitter, not a consistent .300 hitter. The same could very well end up being true of Castro.

      • Drew7

        Chronic knee issues derailed Templeton’s career, not the law of large numbers.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          A very true and very sad observation. What happened to Templeton is that his power numbers plummeted after knee problems: he simply was not able to drive the ball with authority. He went from 50+ XBH/year (mostly doubles and triples) to about 30 XBH/year. Taking away 20+ hits a year had a huge effect on his BA. This was not just a loss of speed: that should have turned his triples into doubles while costing him only a few doubles. He just did not hit the ball hard as frequently.

          In addition, Templeton’s singles rate also dropped. However, he lost the ability to bunt for hits and he almost certainly saw a big decrease in other infield hits. So, his knees dealt him a double whammy.

          • Hee Seop Chode

            How do you guys know so much about Gary Templeton?

            • Drew7

              Because he has often been cited (incorrectly) as a reason not to get so hyped about Castro just because he has performed well in his first 2 years.

              That and, as Doc said, its just a sad story.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Many of Castro’s core numbers have changed, Doc, not just the BABIP. Out of zone swings, way up. Strikeouts, up. Walks, down. There are issues beyond luck.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Over the course of this season, all of those things are within overlapping error bars of one another, at least on a month-by-month basis. They’ve actually yo-yo’ed up and down a bit, which is not unexpected: monthly sample sizes are small, and the quality of opposition pitching will vary from month to month. (If I remember, then July was his walking high for the season: but that probably meant all of one or two more walks than the 2nd highest frequency.)

        The singles rate is the one exception: that has trended consistently downwards.

  • Cubbie Blues

    My question about Castro is more about his batting eye. Does he actually know what is coming at him and where it is going to be? His hit tool might be good enough to get bat on ball but not know until he is swinging what and where the pitch is.

    • Drew7

      “Does he actually know what is coming at him and where it is going to be?”

      I don’t think he does. This is a big reason why most players never show a great improvement in BB-rate: Pitch recognition, as has been mentioned before, is not a coachable trait. For the most part, you either have it or you don’t. And Castro- he don’t.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That is a heck of a good question and one that is really impossible to test. A batter makes his “decision” to swing when the ball is about 10′ from the pitcher’s hand. So, it is not as if you could have batters stand up there and call out “ball” or “strike” (or, more importantly, “uppermost outer half strike”) at the instant his brain would trigger the swing/don’t swing reflex: humans simply don’t operate that quickly.

      This also is not something you can do with batting practice pitching: you need the real stuff, with 90+ fastballs, breaking sliders & curves and real changeups. Game film could help a little: but you never get the footage from the right perspective to really make it work.

      Ultimately, I think that this is something where they need to use computer simulations to recreate real pitchers based on game footage. (This will piss off pitchers, but they get heat charts already.) What I’d do is stick guys in there and let them see the pitch up to 10′ from the pitchers hand: and then say where that pitch ended up. That is, play umpire without seeing where the ball was at home plate.

    • cubmig

      Cubbie Blues: I would echo what you say and would add that’s typical of a “free-swinger”– which is what Castro is imo. The other thing I think is happening is that the “teaching/advice he may be getting, is getting in the way of his natural, instinctive approach to hitting. At the plate, he strikes me as he’s “thinking” too much about whether to take a pitch or not (not about swinging, because we KNOW he’s a free-swinger!). Of course, the teaching/advice may take hold, but that will take some time for Castro to find out just how to turn what the coaches are telling him into an effective add-on to his approach.

      • Flashfire

        The real problem is that all of this should have been done *before* he got to the big leagues, but Jim Hendry wasn’t the best on developing young players. (Just ask Corey Patterson.) So, it’s being done now that he’s a 22-year-old two time all star who’s incredibly set in his ways. It’s an issue.

  • BeyondFukudome

    How can everybody so easily assume that an impatient, hacking swinger, without a ton of power, and with a crappy OBP (and a history of defensive inconsistency and inattentiveness, to boot) has such a bright future? The fact that Castro is young works in his favor only if he shows some sign of being able to change the things he does wrong and improve. To date, he has demonstrated little or no ability to grow as a player. It’s time for some hard-headed realism about this kid.

    • Jeff1969

      Castro has improved in the field. He has. He’s like 4th in the league overall in fielding WAR. Who cares what happened with Quade & Lou as his manager? Those days are over, thank god. That said, I think the seasons he has played so far in his career would prove your whining about him wrong, cause that’s what it is, whining. His manager is trying to inspire him, trying to make him step up. So is Soriano. I think the support Castro gets from fans is there because we can see how good he is, and how good he could be. I suspect you can too.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, middle infielders tend to be improving a lot at Castro’s age. The important thing to look far is range: you can improve footwork, glovework and throwing, but range is a much more basic trait. Castro shows very good natural range: and that means that he’s turning a lot of singles into groundball outs (and occasional errors).

    • Flashfire

      Because with minimal coaching — and thus entirely on raw, God-given ability — he was hitting .300 against major league pitchers when he was 20 years old. That’s close to unheard of, and why people think there is a Hall of Famer under all of that hacking and bobbling.

    • rhino70

      Because the drastic improvement of his defense under Sveum and company shows that Castro is open to and accepting of coaching. Pinnella and Quade did next to nothing to help the kid, and he hit .300 over the past two seasons. With this coaching staff, there is plenty of reason to believe that Castro will improve on offense as he has on defense.

  • anotherjp

    I don’t always agree with Sveum but he’s dead right on Castro. Right now, his .304 OBP is behind DeJesus .353, Rizzo .349, LaHair .341, Soriano .318, Barney .312, & Castillo is right behind him at .303. Even Stewart was at .299 before he went on the DL. But the kid is 22 and will get it figured out one day.

    • Wilbur

      That all said, given that this year has become about learning and preparing for the future, this discussion – while interesting – is entirely beside the point. The question is not where does Castro hit in an optimized and prolific lineup. The question is where should Castro be hitting right now to best prepare him for the future.

      I think that is whole point of Sveum’s comment. Sveum is saying Castro can learn and grow as a hitter, and develop into a lower order hitter, but he will need to make the adjustments many of you have already listed. Or he will remain a slash and burn guy with growing power and low OPS. Not a terrible fate and one of good (not great offensive value), but not one that pushes you to the three hole where the “runs” and “rbi” live …

  • Drew7

    “…and it is not debatable that he’s been a below average bat on the year (92 OPS+).”

    -Brett, my man, you’re playing a bit fast and loose here (I kid, but no, seriously).

    Your accuracy with this quote depends on what you are defining as average. Is his OPS below league average? Yes. Is he still producing above average numbers offensively for a SS? Yes (.716 OPS vs SS average OPS of .687).

    Whatever one’s belief is regarding what is causing these numbers to be down, I think it’s safe to assume that nobody believes they will continue to be AS bad as they’ve been for the last couple of months (that is to say, I think everyone is in agreement that he will bounce back at least somewhat). Even if they don’t return back to normal, you have an above-average offensive SS who has made himself into an above-average defender as well.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      His position has nothing to do with the discussion of his offensive ability vis a vis his spot in the lineup. The lineup doesn’t care where Troy Tulowitzki plays. It cares only how good he is with the bat. You’re having a different conversation than I am.

      • Drew7

        You’re right. Looking at him purely as a hitter, he’s been below average. I jumped the gun, but I think it’s because I get frustrated with people (I understand you arent in this group) thinking his performance has been terrible, when it really hasnt been.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That is a point that is too often forgotten. It is also relevant to the “move Castro to CF/3rd/DH/whatever” arguments. Even in an off-year (for whatever reasons), Castro will help create more runs than the average starting SS. However, Castro is not creating more runs than the average #2 hitter or the average starting CFer.

        And that is why I think Sveum is correct. The one trait we really can expect to see improve in Castro is power: at 22, he’s going to get bigger given typical regimens. I really do not think that his walk rate will increase much. Power+Speed-OBP makes for a #6 or #7 hitter in a good lineup.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I truly wonder how much the rape accusations have played a role in the season. The issues rolled over into spring training and the early part of the year. For a very young player, you wonder how much that got in his head. He wasn’t able to prepare for the season the same as others, because he was dealing with that while trying to do what a new coaching staff was trying to change aspects of his approach to hitting. That is a lot for a young kid.

    • cubmig

      This is just my opinion and it may be all wet, but I think the worry he expressed about being able to feed his family overrides any other matter he may be concerned about. And if that’s the case, it may be getting effecting his “pressing” to succeed. I have nothing to base that on; just a thought from being a latino who understands that way of thinking.

  • CM

    The disturbing trend I’ve see this year with him, and I’m sure in some cases it’s about attempting to generate more power, is the fact that the number of balls he goes back up the middle with seems to be decreasing quite a bit. I don’t have numbers to support it, but my recall of the previous two seasons was the number of times he nearly decapitated opposing pitchers and the number of base hits up the middle he got. It’s quite possible the new shifts are taking those hits away, but I still feel like the number has dropped considerably. If indeed this is the case it begs the question, is he better as a .300+ hitter with less power or slight less average and slightly more power?

  • Fastball

    i think Castro is hitting in a terrible lineup and he has no protection anywhere in this lineup that would make an opposing pitcher worry to much about when he comes up to bat. He is still very young and his patience will improve as he becomes more experienced. Most players his age are still in the minors. He is an exception and he plays on his god given talent until he has enough experience to learn to be more patient. I think too many people are overly impatient with him. He is developing in so many ways I think it’s foolish to say he is a 6 or 7 in the lineup anymore than he is a 1 or a 2. I don’t know that Sveum should be talking about this kind of thing with the media and putting out there for public consumption. He is a young kid and it seems to me that he has lost sight of that fact. Castro makes mistakes from time to time because he is young and doesn’t have years and years of experience. I don’t know what Sveum’s motives are. Maybe he just needs to be quiet about it. Let the kid play baseball and get better as time moves along. He is one of the best players on this team and will be for a long time. Let’s just be thankful that we have him.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      He is still very young and his patience will improve as he becomes more experienced.

      Very few players actually become more “patient” with experience. Most of supposed examples of this really are examples of guys who BA went up because of increased power, taking their OBA up with it with a walk frequency that was in line with their earlier rates.

  • Fastball

    I think next year you will see a different product in Starlin Castro. He is experimenting with his game doing different things trying to find himself. Discovering ones true capabilities is a lot of trial and error. He may very well start piecing things together during the off season when he has time to reflect on what works for him and what doesn’t. I don’t put much into what we see right now at the plate. He has improved in a lot of different ways this year. Once he gets his arms around who he is he will be something to watch. He deserves a lot of patience because he is a 2 time allstar and is improving. Can’t get the cart before the horse and expect him to be Derek Jeter today.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The appropriate comparison is with Derek Jeter at age 22 (1996). Basically, Castro-22 tops Jeter-22 in power and fielding-range while making the same number of total errors. (Cap’n Jetes was a statue then, too.) However, Jeter-22 draws many more walks than does Castro-22: like most good walk-drawers, Jeter had that skill from the word go.

  • Fastball

    We should also remember that he has played for 3 completely different coaching staffs in his first few seasons. The information he gets and the coaching he gets has not been the same and it hasn’t been stable over that time frame. There is a lot that goes into a kids head and when he hears it from a revolving door of sources it’s not that easy to separate all of it and at the same time try to find out you are.

  • Flashfire

    Part of the problem seems to be is that *we* don’t know what he’s going to become. Is he going to learn to take pitches and only drive pitches in the zone, but only have minimal power (i.e., Derek Jeter)? In that case, 1 or 2 makes sense. Is he never going to develop that eye, but his power will continue to build to 30+ HR/year potential Ii.e., Miguel Tejada)? In that case, he’s four or five. (5 if Baez/Soler take 4 soon with prodigious home power.) Is he going to both learn to hit his pitch AND take walks (i.e., Pujols)? In that case he’s a 3 and Anthony Rizzo becomes the best 5/6 hitter in baseball. But, since we can’t completely see the future — it’s a whole lot of guessing.

  • gary

    I really think he has made a regression with this coaching staff. Just let the kid hit. he was very good the first 2 years in the majors. he makes mistakes but he is young. Just let him freaking play and dont try and have him over think. That is what they have done to him.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Again, the only thing different about Castro is the proportion of his batted balls that drop for singles. His XBH rate, walk rate and K rate are doing the same as they were early in the season. There is nothing that coaching can do to increase how frequently batted balls become singles!

      • Joe

        Coaches do have an opportunity to increase how frequently batted balls become singles (to an extent). You can’t just ignore the “quality” of those batted balls in play. If Castro is hitting pitches that are a foot out of the strike zone, they are likely crap ground balls or pop ups. If he took more of those pitches and forced the pitchers to throw to him or walk him, he would have more solid contact in more at bats. More solid contact will absolutely increase the amount of balls in play that become hits.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          This is an argument for why his well-hit ball rate would decrease. A corollary of that is that his XBH rate should drop, as most XBH are well-hit balls. We do not expect a corresponding drop in singles, or at least nowhere near as great of one: many (if not most) singles are grounder, flares, etc., that are not particularly well-hit: they just are not-well hit at anybody.

          So, when the singles rate drops while the XBH rate does not, you need another explanation.

          • Flashfire

            But…. he’s a year older, and the transition from 21 to 22 makes most men significantly stronger. Thus, all else equal, we should have seen an increase in XBH this year. In this case, a flat XBH is actually a decrease.

      • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

        Actually he is walking at a lot higher rate this season and his k rate is actually down when you compare pre and post Jaramillo rates this season.

        • Drew7

          His BB-rate is currently the lowest of his career. I don’t know about his K-rate pre vs post RJ

          • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

            It was phrased wrong because that implies his season total is the highest of his career which is untrue. However, before Jaramillo was fired it was 2.9% of PA ending in a BB, and after it is is 6.4% this season. We are seeing drastic improvement in the middle of the season for Castro that occur at exactly the same time his rate of singles drops dramatically nullifying those improvements in his overall rate stats.

      • hansman1982

        I disagree.

        His BB and K rates are going in the wrong direction (BB down .6% K’s up 2%), his LD% is down, his GB% is down, FB% is up, his 2B % is down but offset by the increase in Triples and Homers, his infield flyball % is WAY up (~7%), his pitches per plate appearance are down.

        While his ISOP is up (as he matures he will be able to hit grooved pitches much further), nearly everything else is moving in the wrong direction. You will say this is just a normal statistical deviation, which is all fine well and dandy if robots played the game. Players are humans and humans get their mechanics messed up, their mental approach messed up and the opposing pitchers figure out their flaws to exploit those flaws.

        Something is going on beyond just statistical deviation from the mean.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    are we really debating whether castro is a viable offensive threat? of course he is. at 19 he came in and hit 300+, and then again the following year. has he slipped abit, yes, but at this stage and age i am very pleased with his overall offensive game. remember that his focus right now should be on the defensive side of home plate, and he has improved. imo once his d is sured up his offence will begin to balance. you at home gms crack me up with all your numbers, and they are useful, but we all know that there are larger concerns with the cubs than starlin castro. let the kid be. he’ll be fine, just wait

    • Flashfire

      Yeah, no. The problem is, Castros numbers are spectacular for a 20-year old rookie. But the thinking on Castro has always been what he might become when he harnesses his talents. A 300 hitter with minimal power who doesn’t take walks isn’t as useful as you would think. The reason his value is being questioned is because people are starting to think that’s all he’ll ever be. Personally, I think it’s a little too soon to say that, but to start to question exactly what he will become is not unfair after 3 years in the league.

  • Mysterious4th

    From his comments I took away him saying castro’s performance will dictate where he bats in the line up. I personally would like to see him go back to ripping doubles in the gap, hitting singles when it matters and becoming a very smart base runner. Id gladly take that over him trying to be a power hitter at this point. I think he will learn power over the next few years.

  • Stu

    I think Sveum is right about Castro. Look, the name of the game on offense is scoring runs.

    The more you are on base, the more runs you score. Is there really any debate about that? So in an ideal lineup, you have the highest on-base guys at the top of the order because they get more ABs and you will have more base runners, more runs, etc.

    That is why Dejesus is such a good lead-off hitter because of his OBP, not his BA. In a similar way BJax might develop into a lead-off hitter because he has a decent chance of a good OBP in the majors and the K doesn’t kill you as much from the the lead-off spot. Does it matter if you K or groundout leading off? He also has speed.

    Castro as a .300 hitter with 10-15HR potential is not as valuable as would appear. If he can’t develop 25-30HR potential, he will be a good 7th hitter on a good team.

  • J R

    I am usually a supporter of Sveum as he in a brutual situation with this team, but I am really starting to think he’s an idiot. Sure, Castro would probably be hitting 6th or 7th in a good lineup with his performance this year, but why say it. His ego probably has already been hit because of hitting 5th and having a down year at the plate, don’t pile on Sveum.. RIzzo would hit 9th for the ’27 Yankees, lets go run and tell the media..

    • Flashfire

      Did you see the quote the other day about the fire that being left in extended spring training lit under Dan Vogelbach? Perhaps Sveum is trying to do the same thing.

      • J R

        Yeah, I saw that. Castro seems to be a sensitive dude though. I don’t see these comments helping him.. But maybe Sveum’s a motivational genius. LOL..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I imagine he probably got tired of the media asking him why Castro is hitting 5th instead of 2nd. His answer? Ideally, Castro wouldn’t even be hitting as high as 5th…

      • J R

        That makes sense Brett. I just feel like he is always running his mouth about Castro publicly..

    • Patrick W.

      Rizzo would probably bat 6th for the 27 Yankees. Maybe 5th, tho’ that’s a lot of lefties.

      • J R

        LOL Patrick.. I doubt it.

  • Alou and Vinegar

    I think by making those comments Sveum is trying another avenue to get his message across to Castro. I think he and others have had conversations with him about his approach and they are not happy with his progress (stubborness?)

    Castro reminds me of NBA players who leave college too early and never reach their potential because everyone has been telling them how great they are for years and have never listened to coaching or really worked to improve their game. Yes, he has improved his defense, but not so much offensively.

    That may have come across as harsh, but I wonder if he is just not used to coaching, constructive criticism, etc.

    • J R

      @Alou I really do like the analogy you made about Castro and NBA players, seems spot on. My thing with Castro is, how much more can he take of this public crap. He already got moved down all the way to 5th in a very bad lineup. I would like to see him built up with the media more.

  • Nick

    Now I officially do not like Dale Sveum, I know he understands we are not a good team, but why make comments like this? What is the purpose? To crush a young kids confidence? He’s been WAY to public with this Castro stuff, let the kid play and work through these things. He’s NOT a 5 hitter. I personally like him in the 3 spot so Rizzo can hit cleanup, but I understand why he maybe a better fit for the 2 spot. Leave him there, he’ll get hot again and he will grow from this. I am tired of Sveum saying he understand were this team is, but yet doing nothing and saying other things that show otherwise. This team is needs to build for 2014, not now so who the heck cares were Castro hits on a good team now (nice slap in the face to the current Cubs too).

  • sven-erik312

    I think that the league knows how to pitch to him now after him having been in the league 3 years. Now, he has to learn how to hit what the pitchers are giving him.

    • Nick

      Absolutely making yet another agrument for why he belongs in the 2 or 3 hole in front of Rizzo and Soriano!

      • Drew7

        So you can have a guy with a .304 OBP hitting in front of your 2 best power hitters?

        • Nick

          Ideally no but on this team what options do you have? My agrument is to leave Castro in spot he will naturely develop into, why not try it now even with mix results. At this point I don’t care if they lose 99 or 110, as long as they get better for the future. Last year was such a waste with Pena at first, I like Pena a lot but what did we get for playing him? Another 3 wins? Did it matter? Would it had helped LaHair? Maybe, maybe not, but at least they have taken a longer look at something. I view Castro batting 5th as the same waste of progress, he’s never going to be a 30 homer 120 RBI power hitter that you want hitting 5th. He’s got a much better chance of getting that OBP in the uppers 300s and those other solid numbers to go with it.

          • Flashfire

            What if he turns into Miguel Tejada (quite possibly the best comparison out there), do you still want him hitting 2 or 3?

          • Drew7

            “He’s got a much better chance of getting that OBP in the uppers 300s and those other solid numbers to go with it.”

            Unless he has a year with a BABIP of like, .450, an OPS in the upper .300′s is much less likely than him developing good power. He’s young and he’s shown improvement in power each year so far. 20-25 HR and a SLG% in the area of .475 – .500 is certainly a possibility.

  • Cub Style

    Right now? Yes. In his prime years? No.

  • Stu

    Castro is not a #3 hitter. OPS is too low. I personally feet that his if he can’t learn to work pitch counts for more walks and increasing his OBP, he should hit the wait room and look to becoming more of a power hitter.

    • Nick

      Agree, he’s not a #3 hitter on a good team right now, but we have to look at what the Cubs are. They have to develop and he needs to continue to develop with them and I believe he can become a .300+, 20ish homers, and 100 RBIs in the 3 hole with 90ish runs

  • Stu

    I meant weight room

  • J R

    One thing with Castro I have wondered about was how much has the offseason situation with that girl after a night of drinking hurt him? I am not trying to bring up drama, but that had to have been a very stressful 5 months. Hell, he didn’t know if he would go to jail, or playing in the majors this yr. Was he able to get all his offseason work in? How focused was he with all that stuff going on? I have a feeling Castro has a big year next year.

  • taters

    It doesn’t matter much where Castro hits right now. Sveum said a couple months back that changing his basic approach was an off-season proposition. Seems like his career is approaching a tipping point – which is next year.

    • Nick

      Agree, I just don’t think Sveum is handling it right, classic for the Cubs, Patterson, Hill, Hill, Pie, Choi, Orie, let’s through another log on the pile. I do believe Castro is the must talented though.

  • taters

    Sveum’s a bit of a tin ear (mouth) talking to the media, but I think he has the respect of the players – he’s just a blunt sort, but no intention to be embarrassing them in the press (even if he does sometimes). They’ve played hard all year.

  • Timmy

    Let’s get him some lineup support so people actually pitch to him and then decide where he should hit. I’d peg him as a #2 in a good lineup due to his natural contact hitting.

    • Flashfire

      He’s swinging at balls now. How is that going to change if Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton were hitting behind him?

      • Drew7

        It wouldn’t – people hang onto the “lineup protection” theory for dear life.

        As for him hitting number 2, that wouldnt be a good idea in THIS lineup, let alone a good one. I’m not sure why his “contact hitting” makes him a better fit for that spot, anyway.

  • mudge

    rizzo and soriano are good hitters.

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