Chicago Cubs Preview: Starlin Castro needs to have a big year
The Cubs head into this season with great talent at the shortstop position. Starlin Castro looks to be the starter on opening da, but top Cubs prospect Javier Baez could be waiting in the wings if Castro struggles.
We have all heard of the core pieces for the Cubs future. Now it’s only a matter of time before they get here and the Cubs have to figure out where to play them. One of those stars is Baez who could take over the shortstop position. He could also find himself at second.
This year will need to be a big year for Starlin Castro or he could find himself being dealt away at the trade deadline. After two down years the past two seasons, Castro will have to show promise.
STARTER: Starlin Castro
Despite struggling for most of the 2013 campaign Castro ended his season strong and gave the Cubs some hope that he would turn out a great year in 2014. Castro has all the physical tools to be a elite shortstop but his questionable approach at the plate, and lapses in concentration when in the field have left many Cubs fans wondering if he is the long term answer at shortstop.
The Cubs are invested in Castro for the foreseeable future as they didn’t bring in a veteran backup to challenge Castro for the job. There was speculation that the Cubs might trade Castro, but the team made it clear that they had no intention of trading Castro. With no backup to Castro currently on the roster the Cubs are banking on Castro having the type of year that will solidify him as an elite major league shortstop.
Arguably the Cubs most talented group of prospects are at the shortstop position. The headliner Javier Baez has been tearing up the minor leagues in his little over a year time frame with the Cubs. Another intriguing prospect is Arismendy Alcantara. His skill set in the majors profiles like that of Jose Reyes ,and he is developing fast in the Cubs minor league system.
Alcantara is a guy to watch as he could be on the brink of making his debut in the majors with . Starlin Castro is going to be pushed by these prospects in spring training to see if he has what it takes to be the every day starter. Baez is at shortstop for the time being but could move to third if Kris Bryant moves to the outfield. Baez has an explosive bat and his power has been compared to the best power hitting shortstop in the game, Troy Tulowitzki. He still needs to work at becoming a more mechanically sound fielder,but has made great strides since he entered the Cubs organization.
Baez is going to be pushing hard to make the majors this year and we could see him as early as July, if he picks up were he left off last season. If Castro struggles then we could see Baez in the majors even sooner.