Among the things I find delightful to follow in a give season: huge days, and their impact on season stats. It’s kind of a silly exercise, especially in April, but it can also be a lot of fun. As someone who tries to find meaning in statistics, and to find reason in a morass of unsupported narratives, I like the idea that the “story” about a player can suddenly change because a ball went over the wall, instead of flying just two feet shorter and being caught.
The latest huge day for the Cubs came yesterday from Starlin Castro, who has, to my eye, looked like a much improved batter this year*, even if the numbers weren’t quite reflecting it. And, in one day, he turned so much of that on its head, going 3-4 with two homers.
- Going into the game, Castro was hitting .272/.302/.370, with an OPS+ of 84 (the league average hitter was hitting 16% better than he was). The three hits lifted his batting average 20 points, and his OBP climbed 18 points.
- The homers, though, really exploded his slugging percentage, which rose 78(!) points to .448. His line now reads .292/.320/.448, which looks damn good for a shortstop. And, hey, even after the error yesterday, he’s still showing positive defensive value.
- His OPS+ climbed all the way up to 110 (league average is now 10% worse than Castro). By the way: Castro’s career best OPS+ is 111, in 2011.
- Castro’s wOBA is up to .335 (league average, without pitchers included, is .314), and his wRC+ is up to 111.
- Castro’s walk rate is down quite a bit at only 4.0%, but his strikeout rate is also down to 13.0%, the best mark of his career, and way down from last year’s 18.3%. His .156 ISO is also a career best.
- *(And it isn’t just my eyes – Castro’s line drive rate this year is up to 25.3%, only 0.1% behind Anthony Rizzo for the team lead. That figure is up nearly 6 percentage points from last year, and is a full 5 points better than his career average. So far, Castro is hitting the ball with authority more frequently than he ever has before.)
(Thanks to Section 503 for grabbing the useful Castro screenshot for meme-ifying.)