Starlin Castro had himself a game last night, ripping three hits and sending a fourth ball deep to right center. He looked good at the plate, as he has for a little while now. To the naked eye, he looks a little closer to the plate with his stance slightly less open, and his hands just a touch lower. It sounds like he has, indeed, been working on adjustments with hitting coach John Mallee (Cubs.com, ESPN), and we might be finally seeing it pay off after a season of struggles.
One of those three hits was a deeeeeep homer to left, which Castro sent 413 feet at 107mph off the bat, according to Home Run Tracker. You can watch the homer here, and be reminded why coaches have been trying to tap into Castro’s latent power for years. I’m not sure it’s going to happen at this point, and he’s probably best served going back to more of a center-to-right-center approach (with the occasional pull shot like that one when the pitch and the count is perfect for it).
Although he may not have a chance to take back the starting gig at shortstop, Castro undoubtedly can earn himself more regular playing time at second base down the stretch – and maybe some additional starts at shortstop, too, if Addison Russell needs days off – and it would be tremendously valuable to the Cubs if he could resemble his 2014 self in September.
Castro’s homer was just one of three last night, with Miguel Montero providing the middle shot – a 407-foot rip job to right.
Montero has now homered in three straight games, and, since coming off of the DL on August 8 (with a thumb injury he says won’t fully heal until the offseason, because he’s a hoss), he’s hitting .286/.388/.667 with a 185 wRC+ and four homers (including this walk-off winner).
The first homer on the night for the Cubs came courtesy of Kyle Schwarber, whose last four hits are all homers. This was a 398-foot line drive:
That looked and sounded like a cannon firing off. When people talk about the ball sounding different off of certain players’ bats – and the Cubs have a few of those guys – this is the kind of sound they’re talking about. Explosive.
Schwarber is still going through an adjustment period at the big league level, as all young players do, and you can read more on his whirlwind year here at CSN.
A fun stat on Schwarber, by the way:
Kyle Schwarber is the 1st Cubs player within modern era (since 1900) to hit 12 HR within his first 42 career games (via @eliassports)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 26, 2015