Although the 19-year-old prospect was sent to the minors yesterday, Starlin Castro has spent his Spring Training turning heads and creating quite a controversy as to whether or not the Cubs should give the young prospect a shot.
Although Castro turns 20 in just a few days, he has been playing like a veteran, batting near .500 and striking out just once in 26 at bats before being sent down. He caused Lou Piniella to re-evaluate whether or not he should give the youngster a shot.
“Castro had a phenomenal spring for a young player,” Piniella said. “Nineteen years old, to come in here and look like a veteran and swing the bat…he showed his athleticism. He came in here highly touted and left here even more touted.”
However, Ryan Theriot showed that he wasn’t ready to concede his position just yet, as he has been outstanding this spring as well. Having Castro working with the team and pushing him may have contributed, and it may stay that way throughout the season, as Castro is available to be called up at any time if Piniella thinks it’s necessary.
Theriot has hit .560 so far this spring, and he has been playing well defensively, too. If he plays like he has all season, the Cubs may be able to turn shortstop into a strength this season. Piniella said that Castro has helped Theriot this spring.
“Maybe having Castro around has something to do with it,” Piniella said. “You’ve got a nice young player like that pushing you.”
The Cubs have been getting great performances from young players throughout the spring, as Castro isn’t the only one who has stepped up. Carlos Silva has turned around a horrible first start and has been pitching well.
Esmailin Caridad hasn’t allowed a single run this spring, has allowed just seven base runners in 7.1 innings, and has been doing a good job auditioning for a set-up spot.
Justin Berg has already earned his spot on the team, with an ERA of just 1.80 in five innings. Berg is also doing a good job of trying to be the set-up man while Angel Guzman is out.
Brad Snyder has also had a very good spring, and although he was sent down with Castro, he has hit .313 this spring and has shown Piniella that he can play any of the three outfield positions.
The Cubs are going to look towards their younger players to make a big impact this season, and this spring those players have worked to give Piniella and Cubs fans faith.
I’m Joe W.