The biggest news so far today is the Cubs’ decision to call up 20-year-old Dominican shortstop Starlin Castro all the way from AA ball.
Castro was hitting a robust .376 with a .990 OPS for the Tennessee Smokies in the Southern League, but that’s a long way from the Show.
Castro is one of the more highly regarded prospects in baseball (Baseball America ranked him 16th among all prospects before the start of this season), and players his age sometimes progress very quickly.
Still, Castro’s OPS in 2009 was only .734 last year, when he spent about three-quarters of the season in the A+ Florida State League and one-quarter in the AA Southern League.
That’s a fine season from a 19-year-old shortstop, but it suggests he still has a ways to go before he’s truly a major league player.
Still, the experience he gets now can’t hurt his chances later on, and he might surprise (me at least) and stick for good.
ESPN.com reports that the Cubs optioned Chad Tracy down to AAA Iowa to make room on their roster for Castro. It’s kind of a tough break for Tracy, who was hitting .273 with a .651 OPS.
That’s not terrible, and at age 29 and a six-year major league veteran, I would not be happy being sent back down to the minors if I were Tracy.
It looks to me like Tracy has enough major league service time that he can refuse the assignment and force the Cubs to release him. Given his age and his career .791 major league OPS, there’s a good chance he’ll do so in the hopes of catching on with another major league team.
I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one major league team out there for whom Tracy would be an upgrade.