Castro Gets the Call

As virtually all of Cub Nation has probably already heard, the Cubs have summoned 20-year-old Starlin Castro to the bigs. He's in tonight's lineup in Cincinnati, hitting eighth. Ryan Theriot is moving over to second. Chad Tracy, meanwhile, has been banished to Iowa, Andrew Cashner has been promoted to Iowa from Tennessee, and Josh Vitters has been moved up to Tennessee from Daytona.

Back to the game tonight. Here's the batting order that will go up against the Reds' Homer Bailey:

Theriot 4, Fukudome 9, Lee 3, Byrd 8, Ramirez 5, Soriano 6, Soto 2, Castro 6, Silva 1.

Sullivan points out in the Tribune that Castro is the youngest Cubs rookie since 19-year-old Oscar Gamble made his debut 41 years ago. Ironically, Gamble also broke in against the Reds, in Cincinnati.

Also found this item in Sullivan's story amusing: Jim Hendry said these moves were not motivated by the Cubs getting swept in Pittsburgh. "I knew two days ago I was going to do this before Cincinnati," the Cubs GM said.

Some thoughts on the move by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (subscription required):

The Dominican shortstop just turned 20 in March, but after a monster spring and this much offense so far in the Southern League, I think we can have some confidence that he's going to hit immediately. Certainly not .376, but he should hold his own.., as in yesterday's Scouting Notebook, a scout believed he could be a future 70 hitter, which is nearly batting title territory. Beyond the ability to hammer line drives all over the field, Castro has a good, not great approach, but he's not overly aggressive like Corey Patterson was, and it shouldn't be a problem in the big leagues.

Goldstein also cautions that Castro is not "some sort of massive tools monster." He rates Castro's speed as only average and says not to expect much in the way of longball power until Castro's frame fills out.

Comments

Sorry, all, for the Corey Patterson reference. Before I knew it, I had typed the words and well, I'm just really sorry.

Just think at this rate - three more promotions and Soto can bat fourth!

Goldstein also cautions that Castro is not "some sort of massive tools monster."

...yes

castro is an awesome prospect, but really...we shouldnt expect more than a renteria/vizquel type performance out of the guy at his peak.

he's just not built for super-stardom...at least now...probably not ever.

Wth? JUST a Renteria or Vizquel?

You can't hear it but I'm making loud groaning noises, dude.

well, talking about a hot prospect who projects to hit .280 with a .340-ish ob% and deliver 10-15HR power seems to loose it's shine after a season or two.

Not sure how a Vizquel comp makes any more sense than a Garciaparra compariosn.

im just saying the guy is a contact hitting, low walking, 10-15hr power type...

he's mostly tied to a renteria comparison with the bat...which is more apt.

I'm thinking more like Hughie Jennings, for you old, old schoolers. JK. Renteria does seem like the most logical comparison. Nice first ab by the kid.

Take that Tuffy Rhodes!

I expect nothing short of a Hr/Triple & 6 rbis every game for the rest of the year.

We shouldn't expect it right away or anything--and I know that scouts etc. are trying to project based on what Castro has done so far in the minors and his current body--but watching Castro's swing in spring training and looking at the number of extra base hits he's able to collect in the minors, I don't think it's completely unreasonable that he could produce DeRosa+ power. He's not a big guy, but he's so comfortable putting the bat on the ball that he can take some pretty aggressive swings, and he's already using his legs well.

At this point, I am just happy to say that he makes the team better. It is not their most urgent need, but a Theriot/Castro middle infield sure seems like an upgrade over a Fonty/Theriot one.... I just wish that this did something to address the MASSIVE production void coming from their corner IFs, or to add someone reliable to the pen...

the whole thing seems like a massive distraction from the season-as-is to me.

it's the answer to a problem that doesn't exist and the potential upgrade quality seems to be so minor in the immediate future.

we get a new toy to look at on TV, though.

You know Fountainout has got be thinking "what the heck did I do?" and looking over at Aram Ram. Hopefully it will pick up the clubhouse a bit - but Aram and Lee driving in runs will pick them up a lot more.

"looking over at Aram Ram"

He's very dillusional if he's comparing his situation to Aramis.

the very idea of bringing up an "upgrade" that we slot into the 8-hitting slot says a lot about the upgrade, imo.

some believe the D upgrade at SS will be worth counting, too. i'm in the camp that believes that while theriot is pretty damn average, he's not a liability.

Fontenot: Best. Pinch hitter. Ever.?

BRING UP RYNO! Or Brenly down from the booth.

Yea!

Oh, Sandberg... whatev.

Also from Baseball Prospectus, Christina Kahrl uses about 600 words to say that she thinks the call-up makes sense and that she's expecting early, Edgar Renteria-like numbers from the young man--.270 to .280 average, a few homers--plus a nice defensive improvement over Theriot.

Reds lineup v. Silva:

Cabrera SS, Phillips 2B, Votto 1B, Rolen 3B, Bruce RF, Gomes LF, Stubbs CF, Hernandez C, Homer Bailey P

Chad Tracy has 6+033 MLB Service Time through yesterday, so he would have had to agree to accept an Optional Assignment to Iowa. And to get him to agree, the Cubs probably had to guarantee some or all of the $550K in performance incentives in his contract.

Also, Starlin Castro presently gets four minor league options (as long as the 4th one is used prior to his completing five full seasons), in case the Cubs option him back to the minors at some point later this season.

Castro wearing #13

If he sucks and Cubs fans boo him I'm gonna start rooting for the Phillies.

I might go with you too. I hate Cubs fans sometimes

Castro good.

[edit]

Silva not good.

If Castro sticks, what role does Baker have on the team?

Wish A-Ram would get himself together at the plate. Lee, too.

Role on the team.

Guy who's not on it?

back-up 3bmen

The Cincy TV announcers just said that the 6 RBI by Castro in his MLB debut was the greatest performance ever by a rookie in his first game.

One game, one Major League record.

Yeah, and he's already tied with future Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson on the career HR list!

Other than his Cubbie disaster with The Wide-Out, the below plus the recent Cub Top 10 prospects is not at all the disaster Mike C whines about constantly. And interestingly NAVIGATOR has been silent about "Teflon Tim" recently. Go figure.

"During his 27-year career, Wilken has seen a distinguished list of players signed and ushered into the big leagues, including: Derek Bell, Chris Carpenter, Carlos Delgado, Ryan Freel, Shawn Green, Roy Halladay, Steve Karsay, Billy Koch, Josh Phelps, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Michael Young. While with the Blue Jays, he contributed to the club's streak of seeing 11 straight first-round draft picks reach the major leagues.

In addition, during his 11 years after being promoted to national crosschecker of the Blue Jays, Toronto's draft was ranked in the top five each year - producing four Rawling Gold Glove winners and two Cy Young Award winners. In 2005, 16 products of the Blue Jays organization were on the All-Star Ballot and six were selected to the All-Star Team. In addition, in 2003, the Blue Jays were named Baseball America's organization of the year."

Wilken is doing a nice job but I have to chuckle at Operation Shutdown Bell and Cover Boy Phelps on that "distinguished" list.

You'd prefer Ryan Harvey?

Ummmm E-man sorry to bag on you but just because Wilken had a great career some where else doesn't mean the picture is all sunshine and rose petals in the Cubs system.

One thing doesn't have a damn thing to do with another. If the organization isn't going to pay top dollar for the best players in the draft then your still going to get a shitty product. More importantly he is only as good as the people around him and the people in the Cubs system, are how should i put it, F'n horrible at talent evaluation.

McPhail was a great GM in Minnesota, because he had great people working for him. He wasn't so much in Chicago, in fact he was a pretty shitty GM. He continues to be that same shitty GM in Baltimore but with better scouts and talent evaluation. Minnesota keeps on trucking like he never existed and McPhail never did a damn thing to help this franchise win a World Series. He took a couple can't miss prospects that carried us about as far as they could and then it flamed out every time.

All you have done is thrown out Wilken's past accomplishments and concluded our farm system is better and/or fixed because of what he did in the past. In fact you didn't even mention one single accomplishment from Wilken to the Cubs, thats pretty telling.

I-Cubs' listing of upcoming pitching matchups doesn't include Cashner yet [assuming he'll continue to start]...they're home for a brief 4 game set w/ OKC before hitting the road so may have to wait a while before a chance to get a look @ him...meantime, Castro: revolution? revelation? wow...

damn...cashner now slated to throw tuesday in las vegas on first game of road trip!

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 40 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 7 hours 18 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 7 hours 19 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 17 hours 1 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 19 hours 58 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 20 hours 11 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 20 hours 20 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 20 hours 25 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 20 hours 43 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 21 hours 19 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 21 hours 37 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 21 hours 39 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 21 hours 57 min ago view