Prospect Review – Starlin Castro – SS – CHC


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The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: International Free Agent signed out of the Dominican Republic
Age: 20

Statistics

2008 – Arizona Cubs (Arizona Rookie League – Cubs Rookie) – 51 games

  • .311/.364/.464
  • 3 HR, 22 RBI, 6 stolen bases
  • 14 walks, 33 strikeouts
  • .363 BABIP

2009 – Daytona (Florida State League – Cubs High-A) – 96 games

  • .302/.340/.391
  • 3 HR, 35 RBI, 22 stolen bases
  • 19 walks, 41 strikeouts
  • .334 BABIP

2009 – Tennessee (Southern League – Cubs AA) – 31 games

  • .288/.347/.396
  • 14 RBI, 6 stolen bases
  • 10 walks, 12 strikeouts
  • .323 BABIP

2009 Totals (2 levels, 127 games)

  • .299/.342/.392
  • 3 HR, 49 RBI, 28 stolen bases
  • 29 walks, 53 strikeouts

2009 – Arizona Fall League – 26 games

  • .376/.396/.475
  • 1 HR, 10 RBI, 9 stolen bases
  • 3 walks, 14 strikeouts

Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (CHC – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – Unranked (CHC – 2009)
Project Prospect – #2 (SS – 11/2009)
John Sickels – #1 (CHC – 2010) – B+

Analysis

Castro went from a virtual unknown at the end of the 2008 season to the top of many rankings for the Cubs. Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Castro has looked like a light-hitting, top-notch defensive shortstop. He has not really hit for any power to this point, but he is still young (will start the 2010 season at the age of 20), and has really shown himself to be a line-drive hitter. I don’t anticipate him having a lot of power at any point, but could see him developing into a double-digit homerun hitter long-term.

He is slowly improving in his ability to draw a walk, posting career best walk rate and strikeout rates in 2009. Whether or not he can build on those numbers remains to be seen. He showed good skills during the regular season, but didn’t really keep it up during his stint in the Arizona Fall League. The rest of his skill set should allow him to overcome some of these plate discipline issues. He probably won’t ever have elite plate discipline, but should be at least passable for his position and defensive skill.

Castro is really known for his fielding ability, and should stick at shortstop in the Majors. His skills appear to translate well, although they appear to be a bit raw at times. Nothing some more practice shouldn’t help to address. There has been some discussion that Castro may shift to 2B at some point, partially due to organizational need, and partially to allow another slick-fielding shortstop (Hak-Ju Lee) to develop as well. This is apparently not a knock on Castro’s glove as much as a statement of how good Lee’s glove is.

He’s a bit of a speedster, stealing 47 bases in his minor league career against 18 caught stealing. His success rate improved in AA, not being caught once in the 6 attempts he made. He probably won’t be an elite base stealer (50+) in the Majors, but I could very well see him stealing between 30 and 40 on a consistent basis.

Outlook

I am looking forward to seeing what Castro can do in the upcoming season. I expect him to start the season at AA Tennessee, and probably spend a majority of the season there.  He remains a very raw prospect, with a very high ceiling possible. The Cubs do not really need him at the Major League level any time soon, so hopefully they will take their time with him and allow him to develop.

Projection for 2010

.290/.350/.430, 5 homeruns, 32 stolen bases (AA)

Expected ETA

2012. I could see him getting a call up in 2011, depending on whether or not he performs very well at AA this season.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review: Aaron Hicks (OF) of the Minnesota Twins

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2 responses to “Prospect Review – Starlin Castro – SS – CHC

  1. Pingback: How are They Doing So Far? part 1 « Jason's Baseball Blog

  2. Pingback: Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – Majors and AAA « Jason's Baseball Blog

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