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starlin castro at the plateStarlin Castro had a big night last night amidst the frustrating loss, and I thought we should give it, and Castro, some love:

  • The two homers last night marked the first two-homer game of his big league career.
  • The three hits marked his first three-hit game since, well, Saturday. But before that, you have to go all the way back to … the third to the last game of 2013. Ok, so that’s not far, either. BeforeĀ that, you have go back to early August. Ok, let’s just move on.
  • The three hits raised Castro’s batting average from a oh-no-2013-repeat .240 to a oh-my-God-he’s-back .310.
  • The two homers (and the single) nearly doubled his slugging from .280 to .552. I love early season numbers.
  • Castro’s ascending OPS since Friday: .284, .511, .549, .885.
  • Castro now leads the Cubs in homers and RBI, and trails only Emilio Bonifacio in OPS (1.131).
  • The last time Castro’s OPS was this high was the first day of the 2013 season, when he went 2-4 with a couple singles. It fell quickly from there. In 2012, Castro’s OPS hovered in the high 800s for much of April, before steadily falling into the mid-700 range. I can’t say I would absolutely hate a .280/.325/.425 line from Castro this year, especially if it came with steps forward defensively. That’s an above-average bat playing shortstop.
  • Castro collected his 700th (and 701st) hit last night, and he just turned 24. At 200 hits per year, he needs to play only until he’s 42 to break Pete Rose’s hit record. Piece of cake.
  • theHuch

    Here is a question: If Castro can keep up solid numbers, would you trade him at the trade deadline for a bunch of prospects?

    • MightyBear

      No

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Depends on the prospects. If he’s putting up solid numbers, though, I’d probably be more inclined to keep him.

      • Chad

        If it included a big league OF (say Heyward) and a stud pitching prospect then perhaps. Now I know the Braves would be a bad fit with Simmons and all their contracts they are handing out, but he was an example.

    • terencemann

      There are only a handful of players I think the Cubs would even consider trading him for and I feel the same way. I wouldn’t trade Castro unless some team wanted to give the Cubs a nearly major league ready pitcher with star potential. Thanks to all the injuries in the minors this year, I don’t know if that player even exists right now.

    • SenorGato

      Depends no whether the FO finds any progress sustainable. I think we might be able to guess when that time comes. Right now I lean no, it’s OK to keep good, controlled young talent.

    • Norm

      The answer to all these hypotheticals is the same: It depends on who they get in return.

      • mjhurdle

        agreed. Every single player is trade-able if the return is big enough.
        No matter how good Castro does this year, I would trade him to the Twins if the Twins offered Buxton, Sano, Meyer and Stewart :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think the Cubs’ dream scenarios are, in order:

      (1) Castro plays out of his mind this year, and is so good at shortstop that a long-term move of Baez to second base is required, and 2015 is looking hella bright;
      (2) Castro plays out of his mind this year, is great at shortstop, but Javy Baez looks so damn good with the bat AND at shortstop that the Cubs consider trading Castro in the offseason for a mighty haul.

      • Edwin

        (3) Profit.

        • CubFanBob

          (4) Crush the National League Central, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

          • mjhurdle

            LOL!

            best post of the day sir, well done

            • Fishin Phil

              Agreed!

          • DarthHater

            Truly, that is what is best in life.

      • Chad

        I agree #1 is the best option for the cubs, but option #2 sounds amazingly dreamy

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Cubs’ dream: 2014 Castro = 1984 Sandberg

        I.e. we all knew he was good, now he breaks out as a great one

      • MightyBear

        No way Baez plays better shortstop than Castro defensively. What’s missing from those bullets up there is the play Castro made on a ball hit behind the 2nd base bag that Castro got to and threw out the runner easily. If Baez is playing short, it’s a hit into the outfield.

        • YourResidentJag

          I agree. Castro stays the duration of this.

    • Nuked.

      David Price or bust!

    • ssckelley

      Not for a bunch of prospects but as I mentioned the other day I wonder if the Dodgers would trade either Puig or Kemp for Castro.

      Yeah, I know, get the paintball guns out.

      • Chad

        Puig straight up? But Kemp would need something else with him (do they still have Zach Lee?) and probably some salary relief.

        • ssckelley

          Not sure, but the Dodgers have a surplus in the outfield once Puig comes back a position the Cubs desperately could use an upgrade.

        • Chad

          I am with you, and I actually like Kemp (I know you got killed on that the other day), but I think it would have to include much more as Kemp is aging, injured often, and has a huge contract. There would need to be several prospects and probably some salary relief, but I don’t hate the idea. I like it much more than Eithier.

  • SenorGato

    There’s zero things I want more for the MLB team this year than a Castro bounce back.

    • TWC

      Well, maybe a World Series win, huh?

      • Funn Dave

        Uh, how does a 2014 World Series win fit into the Plan, exactly?

        Dumbass.

        -some troll

  • cubsfan1594

    I thought Castro’s first AB yesterday was one of the best I’ve seen from him. He worked from behind in the count 1-2 fouling off a couple pitches and working the count full and put the ball right where he needed to to get a hit with the pirates shift on

    • Norm

      Everything but the fact that it was a terrible pitch to swing at. He made weak contact on a ball 2 feet off the plate and got lucky the 2B wasn’t positioned 3 feet over.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        I’m not sure if he got lucky. It’s possible Castro was trying to beat the shift (not saying he chose to hit it exactly there, but rather toward that side). I think this sort of at bat would represent a strong improvement in Castro’s approach; take early pitches, foul off some pitcher’s pitches, and then put it in play as needed. Kind of the best of see ball hit ball approach and the AL East style.

        • Norm

          Did you see the swing? He was completely off balance, threw the head of the bat out at a ball 2 feet off the plate. It was about as bad a ball anyone can swing at.

          • vitaminB

            Yeah, he got lucky. He refuses to take a walk. And I’m strangely okay with that.

            • ssckelley

              After seeing him struggle last year trying to be more selective I am ok with him swinging at a ball 2 feet off the plate as well. As I said earlier today we have to take the good with the bad with Castro. There will be times he looks like an all star and others that make you scratch your head.

  • YourResidentJag

    Just heard on the Score that the Cubs brass aren’t all on the same page with Rizzo being part of the future. I should probably dismiss this, right?

    • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

      Given their history, the lengths the front office went to acquire him 3 separate times, his age, position, and success I’d say that’s a hard no.

      • Jon

        Opinions can change over time

        • CubFanBob

          Anytime they bring up baseball on 670 the score, unless it’s Wayne talking, change the station is my advice.

          • YourResidentJag

            Connor McKnight was and still is really solid when talking Cubs—but he’s with the GAME now.

            • CubFanBob

              ya starting to dig the game as well. It’s nice to have options but they at times blow some BS as well. Just earlier Finfer was mocking the Cubs only having 2k in attendance last night but when Trib Cubs Beat Writer Mark Gonzales came on, who was at the game, said there were closer to 20k in the stands in attendance Finfer just kept his mouth shut after being refuted.

              • YourResidentJag

                Finfer’s not too bright. He’s great from what I understand as a sound guy but his analysis gets too meatball. I’m glad that the GAME paired McKnight with Carman because Carman — not too bright and prone to BS as well.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  On Saturday, Sahadev will be in studio with McKnight for an hour.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Great. He’s a solid analyst who everyone should listen to about Cubs baseball. Better than anyone out there. Yeah, I’m that sold on him.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        I wouldn’t trust anything you hear on the score. That station has been anti-cub for years. Sounds like a typical agenda comment from them.

        • Jon

          Ha what’s funny about this is that boers and Bernstein absolutely chastise anyone that even remotely doubts Theo, Ricketts or the “plan” . So no that’s not accurate

        • Edwin

          I’ve listened to The Score for the past couple years, I’ve never really noticed too much of a Sox vs Cubs bias. I mean, there are “Cubs” fans and “Sox” fans, but for the most part the overall coverage seems even. I’m guessing it’s more of a confirmation bias.

          • YourResidentJag

            Agreed. The statements were coming from Barry Rozner about Rizzo who was and still writes about Cubs baseball and started doing so 30 yrs ago. So, White Sox bias? Don’t think so.

          • Jon

            Call in B&B and question the plan. Bernstein will seriously berate you on the air. They are extremely pro Theo/Front office.

            • ssckelley

              This is true. Btw, have you been one of the callers?

              • Jon

                lol, no. I doubt I would get a word in. :)

      • Chad

        not to mention his friendly contract

    • ssckelley

      I heard the same piece. I also was a little concerned about what they said about Theo.

      • willis

        I didn’t hear it, what did they say?

      • ced landrum

        What did they say?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        What did they say about Theo? And who said it? And what was the context?

        • jp3

          Now they leave us hanging… Probably just radio garbage but we’re still curious

        • ssckelley

          Along the lines of Theo not fully understanding the financial situation of the Cubs. They were playing clips of an interview with Theo.

          They also brought up the idea that a reason Rickets is bringing in minority owners to help spread out the liability if they proceed with the renovations and get sued.

          • willis

            I’ve actually always wondered that. Interesting they’re bringing it up just now.

            • candyland07

              Not everything written or talked about the plan is always positive unless its this site. Most radio talk show and print will very on topics pro and con about The Cubs ownership and front office.

              Yeah , yeah , yeah we understand plan . Rebuild = losing or tanking with this ownership and Front Office. The renovation plan -yeah yeah the rooftops are the big bad people with a contract and the owner can not do what other owners do – yeah yeah its just not a general good feeling about this ownership and this front office. Yeah yeah we get it the plan – the plan – the plan meanwhile the Cubs continue to lose and not single shovel has begun.

              After a while its get old .

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Hmmmm something that gets old?? Sounds vaguely familiar

                • candyland07

                  losing is the constant that does not get old.

                • DarthHater

                  [img]https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3795/13744050454_2f3fe2abe2_o.gif[/img]

                  • candyland07

                    That get old as well. but it funny to watch.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            On the “spreading around liability if they get sued” point – that doesn’t really seem credible to me. The possible exposure from a rooftop suit doesn’t strike me as so dramatic that you’d need outside investors to help spread around the risk.

            Instead, the real risk of a lawsuit is shutting down the renovation mid-project, leaving the organization effed. Outside investors don’t really help with that.

        • cubs2003

          I was listening in the car and heard some of it. Basically, they said there are Cubs people that don’t have much faith in Rizzo. Didn’t say wether they’d changed their minds or were never on board. Then they played a soundbite of Theo re: selling shares and he basically sounded like he didn’t know how the funds would be used and they ran with it. It did sound pretty bad for Theo imo. He’s usually a really guarded speaker. They then implies things aren’t great in the organization and that business and baseball are kind of competing for the same resources. Was only half listening, though, so I might be off a bit.

          • ssckelley

            An unhappy Theo does not sound very promising at all.

            Thanks for posting this, I was only 1/2 paying attention when they were playing the interview.

            • cubs2003

              I believe them with the Rizzo part, but I think the rest was just that one of the hosts hates Crane Kenney and Theo wasn’t as prepared as usual to answer a question. He did sound less confident than I’ve heard him before, though. I wouldn’t look too much into it. It’s The Score.

              • Jon

                Who was the host? It was either during Mac and Spiegs or Boers and Bernstein.

                Like I previously said B&B absolutely worship this front office. Spiegel is a cub fan, very smart, but he is skeptical of some things with the rebuilding,that said isn’t the type of have an agenda or hate anyone in the FO. McNeil is too consumed with gambling to have an opinion on anything.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Spiegel really dislikes Kenney. I don’t much care for him, either.

                • ssckelley

                  It was Mac and Spiegs.

                • cubs2003

                  Wasn’t B&B. Must be Mac&Spiegs.

              • candyland07

                The score is a good station They played a Rickets interview just last week and the host was all about how good Rickets is as an owner and baseball fan and that he actually loves the City and the team.

                So stop bashing the score just because they did a segment that you might disagree cause they also do segments that can be interpreted as pro Rickets and This front office.

                I think they have done a good job in letting the listeners be inform on different opinions.

                • ssckelley

                  I don’t see anyone bashing the score, but most of the content is just opinions which is what we all need to remember when listening to the programming.

                  • candyland07

                    I like the score cause its usually the only radio station that is dedicated to Chicago sports . You have ESPN 1000 but sometimes they will venture into national stories, but the score usually does a decent job in local sports topics.

                  • cubs2003

                    This.

          • Chad

            I think there is a reason you won’t see Vogelbach moved unless it is a huge deal, but I think they may sacrifice a little defense for his offense compared to Rizzo’s but we’ll have to see. I heard none of this, but when people start playing little bits of an interview I usually ignore it if it is supposed to “shock me” into believing something.

          • Norm

            Sounds meaningless.
            How often is everyone within an organization all in 100% agreement about the future of a 24 year old?

            • YourResidentJag

              Except that Rozner alluded to the fact that the Cubs are worried about Rizzo abilities to make adjustments and take direction…so I don’t know.

              • Jon

                When they made the trade, I’m certain they had visions of something more than a 2 WIN first baseman

                • ssckelley

                  I agree Jon!

                • Norm

                  I’m certain they still think he’ll be more than a 2 WIN first baseman.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    I’m not.

                    • Chad

                      That’s why the word “jag” is included in your screen name.

                    • Norm

                      He’ll be a 2 win player by the trade deadline.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      What’s wrong 2 WAR players? If Castro and Rizzo end up being that, I still think the Cubs need that. The hope anyway is that the meat of the WAR value comes from Almora, Baez, and Bryant. You realize how overvalued it is to buy even 2-3 WAR players on the FA market, right?

                  • mjhurdle

                    Norm, are you trying to say that a 24 year old player coming off his first full MLB season might actually improve?
                    Thats just crazy talk…

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Actually if you ask @DocWimsey players are in their defining stages at 25 and plateau, or really knowing what composite they are by 27, so if improvements are going to occur, now’s the time.

          • willis

            When things have been going the way they’ve been going for this organization, that’s an easy thing to “run” with when looking to discuss and entertain.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Saw those Theo quotes published elsewhere. Not really a story – he was asked if the sale of an interest in the team was going to generate cash for baseball ops to use, and he said he thinks it’s for the renovation. Which it would be. You don’t sell a chunk of a the damn team so you can pay for a free agent.

            You do, however, sell a chunk of the team to pay for a renovation that generates $40 million in incremental revenue each year that CAN pay for free agents.

      • TimBeam

        WHATS IN THE BOX?!

        I mean what did they say?

    • ced landrum

      Yes definitely dismiss it.

  • Unlucky 13

    I know that the Rose comment was fully tongue-in-cheek, but its not unreasonable that Castro could be in the Cubs top 5 all time in hits within 7 or 8 seasons, when he’s only in his very early 30s. At that point, he’s got a fair shot at 3000. I know its all speculation and speculation, but its fun to think about.

  • Required

    Castro has this swag or confidence back that I haven’t seen since 2012. Maybe a chip on his shoulder. That’s great to see. Small sample size I know. Just watching him round the bases you could see the pep back in his step. Mind you I really don’t recall the last time he rounded the bases after hitting a home run. Anyways, welcome back #13!

  • Medicos

    Only recently jumped on the BN bandwagon and have noticed numerous Hoyer-Epstein detractors posting their thoughts. Been a die hard fan since 1952 and only 3X has the team had consecutive winning seasons:

    1967-1972: Jenkins, Hands, Holtzman, Santo, Banks, Kess, Beckert, Williams
    2003-2004: Pryor, Wood, Big Z, ARam, Lofton, Alou, Sosa
    2007-2008: Dempster, Marmol, Big Z, Wells, Sori, DLee, ARam, Soto

    In the 1970s-early 80s while in medical school out East I had to listen to numerous Yankee fans extolling their team’s numerous World Series championships. Only 18X in the past 62-years have the Cubbies even played better than .500 ball during a season. I’m completely behind whatever the Theo-Jed FO plans to do because they can’t do any worse than I’ve observed all these past years.

    • Edwin

      Well, they’re off to a great start, with losing 197 games the past two seasons and counting. Maybe they can do worse than you’ve observed these past years.

      -Now THAT is how you troll.

      • Medicos

        Edwin—You know something you’re correct. The Cubs have averaged 66-Wins and 96-Losses during the first 3 years of the Epstein-Hoyer FO. That’s the worst W-L average for any 3-year period in franchise history.

  • Travis

    I’d rather him have a hot start and let his numbers fall back to the norm than having to play catch-up all year. Keep that swagger, Starlin!

  • ssckelley

    Iowa playing early, Baez with a double which looked like a homer, and Vitters is back in the lineup.

    • willis

      Pimentel looking strong too. 6 IP, 3 Hits and 8 Ks. Very nice start.

      • ssckelley

        You mean 10 strikeouts. Yeah I was impressed with Pimentel in spring training.

        BJax just homered!

        • willis

          Yeah I was just coming to correct myself. 10 Ks through 6, very impressive.

          BJax was having another bad day until that HR. Awesome.

    • ssckelley

      Vitters with a 2 run homer, driving in Baez who got another hit.

      Cubs brass: Ruggiano, please start hitting so we can trade you!

      • Jon

        or don’t so they can easily DFA you

        Vitters has been on a mission. He needs to stay healthy.

        • ssckelley

          I would be fine with DFA, Ruggiano only cost the Cubs Bogasevic.

          I think Vitters is proving that he is ready.

  • YourResidentJag

    With respect to the platoon debate yesterday, I think Len Kasper reads this. His comments seemed to be taken directly from our discussion yesterday.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I kind of thought that too, granted it’s not like we’re coming up with ground breaking arguments here, but I immediately thought of our argument when he started talking about it

      • YourResidentJag

        He sounded very much like Brett. :)

      • Jon

        He reads alot of blogs and will sometimes mention them on the air. I don’t know if he has ever given BN a direct shout out..

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          That is one of my favorite things about Len, you can tell he does his best to stay informed

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