Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

starlin castro smileIn September, Starlin Castro led the National League with a .426 batting average.

That is a thing that happened.

Normally I wouldn’t rest so firmly on batting average, but, given that it’s Castro’s stock-in-trade if he’s going to be successful, that’s an especially good month for him. His overall numbers for September are even better: .426/.452/.750 with 5 homers, 5 doubles, and a triple. He walked only 2.7% of the time, but he also struck out only 13.5% of the time. He was good for a 225(!) wRC+ in September.

Get this: that was the HIGHEST wRC+ FOR ANY PLAYER IN BASEBALL IN SEPTEMBER, one point higher than Bryce Harper. If not for the fact that Harper had about 40 more PAs than Castro in the month, I’d probably be arguing that Castro should be the offensive player of the month in the NL.

And, as you know, it’s really been since he lost his starting job at shortstop – and made some mechanical and approach changes – that his season has turned around. Consider that, as of the day he lost his regular gig on August 6, Castro was hitting .236/.271/.304 with a 53 wRC+.

He’s now all the way up to .269/.300/.379 with an 81 wRC+. The average NL shortstop this year is hitting .253/.305/.373, and the average NL second baseman is hitting .263/.317/.385.

That’s right: even after the absurd depths of the struggles Castro faced in the first four months of the season (he was close to the worst offensive regular in baseball), he’s now, in total, hit like an average NL middle infielder.

He ended September with a bang last night, starting with this ridiculous, Addison-Russell-like play at second base:

Even Pena showed some love, because, even though he’s not a fast guy, he was busting it down the line. Castro got that ball off so quickly and with such force – that’s a shortstop arm playing second base. It looked good.

As did Castro’s offensive night, which featured four hits, including a double and a homer:

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