May 07, 2010

Castro to the Bigs

The Cubs called up Starlin Castro today, and I'm a little giddy. I think he's going to be pretty good and do think it is the right move. I'm going to list the reasons why and then my reservations

Why it's a good move

  1. He's tearing up AA, posting a .423 wOBA (as a SS, no less), and hit well in the AFL against the top pitchers in the minors

  2. Theriot is moving to 2b, and while I admit that the defensive metrics think he's okay at SS, everyone agrees he's a plus 2b. Either way as far as defensive value goes it's a lateral move. Moving Aramis Ramirez to SS would be offset by the fact that you'd have his bat playing at SS. Though I guess that's not true of last-month-Ramirez.

  3. More importantly, Bakenot has been seriously underperforming at 2b. Fontenot has posted a .299 wOBA and while he hasn't looked quite as shitty at the plate to me (seemingly less WAGs), he's only had 3 extra basae hits and no homers. Jeff Baker has posted a .287 wOBA but for the opposite reason - he's hitting for power (1 double, 1 triple, 2 HRs) but he has to get his bat on the ball first. In his defense though he has a .200 BABIP. Not so much for Fontenot (.323). And since Fontenot is the strong side of the platoon anyway that's doubly bad. Tracy was send down in the move but I would not be surprised to see Fontenot moved by the trade deadline if Castro sticks around. The Cubs would have 3 2b, and Theriot and Baker are the better options to back up SS and 3b, respectively

The bad
  1. Lou Pineilla is an impatient guy (witness Felix Pie). I'm worried the Cubs don't give him a long enough shot, though at least he has plenty of options, unlike Pie did. It's important he gets off to a good start. Lou did really seem to like him in ST though, so that should help.

  2. Along the same lines, the scouting reports I remember on Castro were that he was still pretty raw, though Total Zone seems to like him. I'm worried that an impatient Lou will move him over to 2b and Theriot back to SS, and inertia will set in.

  3. His AA stats this year are still a small sample size, FWIW. He still has room for improvement, and this move starts his service clock.

  4. The Cubs could be expecting the red-hot Castro to turn the team around, and that's a lot of pressure for a young player

Overall though I still think this is a positive move, and a key point I haven't heard many people mention yet is that Castro still has TONS of options. It's not like they're rushing a guy who was supposed to get a cup of coffee with the team for the next 3-4 years before making the bigs. He earned this promotion.