Mid-Season Report Card: Starlin Castro

Grade: A-

Starlin Castro is having a renaissance 2017 campaign with the Yankees. Once the face of the franchise for the rebuilding Chicago Cubs, Castro started his career in the bigs by hitting at least .283 or better in four of his first five seasons. The Yankees picked him up for pennies on the dollar as a result of the influx of other young talent the Cubs were experiencing a couple years ago. His first season in the Bronx was mediocre at best. However, the talented second baseman has really picked up his play this spring. While it feels as though Castro is a grizzled veteran, he is only a modest 27-years-old. Castro is only two years older than Aaron Judge. It feels like Starlin is a veteran simply because he debuted in the bigs at the age of 20.  It’s a great sign to all Yankees fans that Castro has been able to turn around the trajectory of his career in 2017.
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac | Getty Images


First Half Performance:

Castro has hit a scorching .313 through the first few months of action.  This is due to his newfound approach at the plate, where he is clearly focused on taking the ball to the opposite field.  This is very apparent and has led to a few very positive results for the Yankees offense.  Starlin has been able to pick up quite a few soft hits this spring by keeping his weight and hands back just long enough to push these balls through the right side. As a result of this balanced spray of balls in play to all fields, teams are not able to shift against Castro at all. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in the age of sabermetrics and constant shifts, it is very impressive.  

Starlin has also used this balanced approach to steal a few home runs down the hitter friendly right field line at Yankee Stadium. The only negative to Castro’s first half has been his recent appearance on the DL as a result of the nagging hamstring. Hopefully this is only a minor setback that won’t lead to a more prolonged absence later in the season. Despite his injury, Castro was still named to the American League All-Star team, a much deserving honor.

Second Half Expectations:

Castro will look to come back from the DL strong and prove that this first half was not a fluke.  He has a great chance to break his career record of 21 HR’s for a season with a quality second half.  He will consistently play up the middle at second everyday alongside Sir Didi at short, forming one of the most friendly and fun-loving duo’s in the MLB. Hopefully, Castro’s experience of Major League action in both the NL and AL will allow him to continue to be a mentor to some of the baby bombers as the team comes down the stretch this fall.  This will be even more critical of an asset of players like Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade are leaned upon in big situations. 

Conclusion:

Castro has an opportunity to come up clutch on the game’s biggest stage later this season in September and October.  His steadiness in the middle of the lineup and the diamond is a major asset for the Yankees as the pressure starts to really heat up over the next couple months.  If he is able to keep up his outstanding start, he will have the opportunity to get his own World Series ring in New York with the collection of dazzling young talent the Yankees have acquired at some point over the next few seasons. 

Article by: Kyle Finnerty

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