The New York Yankees, and their fans, were hoping for big things from infielder Starlin Castro when they acquired him in a trade this past off-season. So far, Castro has looked to be everything the team had wanted.
In the Yankees first game of the season, a 5-3 home loss to the Houston Astros and the AL Cy Young Award winner in Dallas Keuchel, Starlin Castro was able to muster a double and drive in two runs. One day later, playing in less than favorable weather conditions, Starlin once again was able to shine for the Yankees. In a 16-6 blowout of the Astros, Castro went 4-for-5 from the plate, with a run and a hefty 5 RBI. One of his hits was a home run in the second inning.
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Teammate Carlos Beltran certainly recognized the success which Castro has had at the plate over the past two games, as quoted by Fox Sports.
”Starlin Castro is playing T-ball right now. It’s good to see him swinging the bat like that. He’s a big key.”
Not only is Castro a key with his bat, but in the field as well. The Yankees have had a significant hole to fill at second base ever since Robinson Cano left New York for the Seattle Mariners. Cano was a two-time Gold Glove award winner while with the Yankees. Castro, while he does not quite reach the level of Cano in the field, can certainly play the position with aplomb.
Starlin’s Major League Baseball career began with the Chicago Cubs in 2010 when he was 20-years-old. As a heralded rookie, Castro took to the field at shortstop and played fairly well, particularly considering his experience, with a.950 fielding percentage. His statistics in the field increased over the next four consecutive seasons.
His time at second base has been limited to just 40 games so far. With more repetitions at the position, Castro will likely become more comfortable and see his fielding percentage increase from the.957 he achieved in 2015 over a span of 38 games.
Earlier in his career, Castro saw great success at the plate. His batting average was.300 as a rookie, in 463 at-bats. In his sophomore campaign with the Cubs, Starlin increased his average to.307 in a much greater 674 at-bats. His batting average has since fluctuated bit. Castro has yet to reach the.300 mark once again, coming fairly close in 2014 when he batted.292. Most recently, in 2015, Castro’s average for the year was.265.
The Yankees are hoping that the change of scenery, and ballparks, suits Starlin Castro well both at the plate and in the field. Although it has been a small sample size of just two games, the results so far are positive. At just 26-years-old there is much more talent left in Castro, and the Yankees certainly have the support infrastructure to guide him to further success.
Team management saw the potential in Starlin and were willing to pay a fairly significant price to acquire Castro. As reported by USA Today, Castro is owed $38 million through the 2019 MLB season. At one point in the not-too-distant past, $9.5 million a season for a proven infielder of Castro’s ability would have been fairly inconsequential for the Yankees to consider paying.
The team has tightened spending, comparatively, in recent years, however, with the Los Angeles Dodgers overtaking New York for the highest payroll in the league. Their willingness to spend nearly $10 million annually on Castro, in addition to giving up pitcher Adam Warren and infielder Brendan Ryan, speaks to their confidence in Starlin’s ability.
Castro recently intimated to NJ.com that he may feel less pressure as a member of the New York Yankees than he did as a Chicago Cub.
“Here we’ve got a lot of guys that have been successful for a lot of years and I feel happy to be part of it. I don’t really feel pressure either (place), but I think here (in New York) is less.”
Where he was looked upon as one of the biggest bats in the lineup for the Cubs, Castro becomes another big bat in a lineup full of all-star caliber hitters with the Yankees. Starlin Castro has certainly looked comfortable in his first two games for New York, but time will tell whether Castro’s production remains at the level anticipated.
[Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]