Tuesday, April 12, 2011
StarCast Proving There's More to do at 21 Than Legally Drink
So, it may occur to most people that the average 21st birthday results in people getting hammered as they celebrate their ability to go out and get drunk publicly. For Starlin Castro, turning 21 was just a little different. On his 21st birthday in mid-March, StarCast had already registered a season in the Major Leagues and was in the middle of spring training in Mesa, Arizona. While a lot of attention has been paid to other amazing young players like Jason Heyward and Buster Posey, the focus on the North Side was on Castro. In his rookie year, Starlin played in 125 games, batted a mere .300 with 39 extra base hits, 10 stolen bases, and put up numerous defensive gems. For a shortstop at his age, that is a pretty good season (he was 20 years old, no less). Having just turned 20, I have a hard time putting up the effort to go to class, but Starlin put up enough effort to OPS .755 from the shortstop position while playing for my favorite team. What makes this even more impressive is that Starlin didn't get to grow up in a fortunate U.S. city. His roots are in Monte Christi, Dominican Republic. Growing up in a poor community, Starlin learned what it meant to work hard, and at 17, he signed a deal and debuted for the Cubs in their Dominican summer league. After then competing in the Arizona Fall League at 18, Starlin made his real minor league debut at 19 at the Cubs A+ level. All of 12 months later, he jumped from AA Tennessee up to being the starter for the Cubs at shortstop. In his debut, Starlin hit a home run in his first at bat, had a 3-run triple later in the game, and set a record with 6 RBI in his debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Going forward to this season, Starlin hasn't slowed down the pace at all. After a great spring training, Castro earned NL Player of the Week honors for the period ending April 3rd after batting almost .600 in a series against Pittsburgh while recording multiple extra-base hits and playing excellent defense. Through the first 10 games of the season, Starlin is batting .364 with an OPS of .891, which is pretty good, I guess. With great bat speed, great contact ability, a little bit of power, and great range at short, Starlin should be a great player to watch in the future. As the years go on, remember the name Starlin Castro. That way, you won't be surprised when you see him filling the box score every day and earning awards at the end of seasons.