Mar 15, 2011, 9:34 AM EDT
While the headlines from Cubs camp this spring have focused on Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva, Patrick Mooney at CSN Chicago has a nice feature on the guy who, more than any other, may catapult the Cubs back into relevance in the NL Central: Starlin Castro, who is being compared to Derek Jeter in Chicago, both from a marketing perspective and from a developmental perspective:
The marketing department at 1060 W. Addison St. wants to promote Starlin Castro as the next Derek Jeter. They paired the two homegrown shortstops on billboards modeled after heavyweight prize fights: Cubs vs. Yankees, June 17-19 at Wrigley Field … Cubs baseball staffers use the Jeter analogy in a much different context. They tell you to look up how many errors Jeter committed in the minors. That tension between patience and expectations can be felt through the entire organization.
The marketing stuff is fluff. Ultimately he’ll be no more marketable than his on-field performance allows him to be. As for that performance: despite some defensive struggles and a come-to-Quade meeting regarding his focus this spring, Castro seems ready to break out. He was hitting .485 with a .500 on-base percentage and an .848 slugging percentage through this past weekend.
More significantly, he destroyed Double-A pitching last year and more than held his own as a 20-year-old in the bigs. That’s roughly the same course Jeter took, though he didn’t truly produce in the bigs until his star-making age-22 season. In terms of production, Castro is a bit ahead of Jeter, actually.
There are big things coming from this guy.
- Dodgers are already fed up with 6.56 ERA-pitching, excuse-making Mat Latos 21
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights 55
- Bryce Harper walks in all four of his plate appearances, scores four runs 22
- ESPN pulls Curt Schilling off broadcasts for rest of regular season and Wild Card game 139
- David Ortiz is more likely to be boned in Hall of Fame voting for being a DH than for PED stuff 133
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights 74
- The Marlins are going to change everything except their biggest problem this offseason 53
- Drooling over Miguel Sano’s incredible numbers through 50 career games 36
- Sarah Palin sticks up for Curt Schilling, tells ESPN to “stick to sports” (266)
- ESPN pulls Curt Schilling off broadcasts for rest of regular season and Wild Card game (139)
- David Ortiz is more likely to be boned in Hall of Fame voting for being a DH than for PED stuff (133)
- Matt Williams puts up another strong performance in his quest to get himself fired (107)
- David Ortiz tweets his happiness about the Deflategate decision (100)