By Matt Abbatacola-
CHICAGO (WSCR) — Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade gave his star shortstop a ‘mental day’ off and kept him out of the lineup against the Atlanta Braves Monday.
Despite Castro’s All-Star season and the fact that he is leading the National League in hits (164), the young shortstop still has some growing to do with regards to his mental approach to the game.
During last night’s game against the Cardinals, a camera caught Castro with his back to the plate as the ball was pitched.
“I’m real embarrassed,” said Castro before Monday’s game.
“I’m really disappointed, surprised – very surprised at him”, Quade said. “It is something that we have been after him from day one, focus wise. To be honest with you, with his talent sometimes it’s the toughest challenge for him. It’s not acceptable – not good. He feels terrible. I talked to him today, so we’ll give him a day.”
Castro is on pace for 209 hits. Last Friday, with his 1st inning single, Castro recorded his 300th career hit at 21 years, 148 days old. In the last 70 years, only five players reached career hit 300 at a younger age. Al Kaline, Robin Yount, Cesar Cedeno, Adrian Beltre, and Ken Griffey Jr.
With 303 hits, Castro is one of five Cubs to reach 300 hits in their first two big league seasons.
Bill Everitt – 381 in 1895-96
Glenn Beckert – 335 in 1965-66
Bill Dahlen – 313 in 1891-92
Mark Grace – 304 in 1988-89
Castro is second in the majors with a .345 batting average out of the leadoff spot. He also leads the majors with a .335 batting average from the number two spot. Darwin Barney is sixth in the majors with a .300 batting average out of the two spot.
There is no limit to Castro’s talent. He will continue to improve in the field – he has committed only three errors at short since the All-Star break. He will also continue to develop physically which will add to his power numbers.
He will not reach his full potential or play as great as the Cubs are hoping if his mental approach to the game doesn’t continue to develop and grow as well.
Like most great talents, the only thing standing between Starlin Castro and greatness in the majors is Starlin Castro.