- Full name Starlin DeJesus Castro
- Born 03/24/1990 in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 218 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 05/07/2010
Organization Prospect Rankings
Clubs rarely ask players to make the jump from Rookie ball to high Class A, but that's exactly the challenge the Cubs presented Castro with in 2009. After he and Junior Lake shared shortstop duties in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2008, Chicago wanted both to play regularly and sent Lake to low Class A Peoria and Castro to Daytona--skipping two levels in the process. Simply holding his own as the youngest regular in the Florida State League would have been a significant accomplishment, but Castro did much more. He won MVP honors at the FSL all-star game by going 4-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run, and made the league's postseason all-star team. He singled in his lone at-bat in the Futures Game before earning an August promotion to Double-A Tennessee. Castro hit .303 in the Southern League playoffs, then moved on to the Arizona Fall League, where he continued to establish himself as an elite shortstop prospect. The Cubs, who signed him for $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic, thought Castro had all-star potential but never expected him to be this good this quickly. Castro's performance has drawn him comparisons with the likes of Tony Fernandez, Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada--and even Derek Jeter. Castro covers the plate well for a young hitter and does a nice job of staying inside the ball and using the entire field. He consistently puts the barrel of the bat on the ball and has a knack for making adjustments. He has no trouble hitting breaking pitches, usually taking the first one from a pitcher he hasn't seen before, sizing it up and attacking the next. Though he had just 32 extra-base hits in 2009, Castro has the power potential to double that total once he matures physically. He has added 15 pounds in the last year and Chicago envisions him growing to 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He has strong hands and wrists, and he's starting to pull and drive more pitches. He has the plus speed to make things happen on the bases. Castro excels defensively as well, with range to both sides, body control and arm strength to make any play. Managers rated him the best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League. The Cubs also like his instincts, charisma and work ethic. Castro just needs time to fill out and polish his game. He made 39 errors last season, which isn't a high number for a young shortstop but shows that he needs to play more under control. He makes so much contact that he doesn't draw many walks, though he does work counts. He's still learning to look for pitches he can drive in certain situations. He needs to hone his basestealing technique after getting caught in 11 of 39 tries in 2009, though he did go 6-for-6 in Double-A. Castro's stellar AFL performance further accelerated his timetable. He'll probably open 2010 back in Tennessee because Darwin Barney is slated for Triple-A Iowa, but there's rumbling that Castro could be in Chicago by season's end. He has all the ingredients to become the Cubs' first all-star shortstop since Shawon Dunston in 1990.
The Rookie-level Arizona League Cubs had three legitimate shortstop prospects last summer in Castro, fellow Dominican Junior Lake and $500,000 bonus baby Logan Watkins. Castro and Lake shared shortstop and moved around the infield, while Watkins played second base and left field. Castro flashes an interesting package of tools. He has a good approach at the plate and isn't overmatched by breaking balls. His hands and wrists work well, giving him some power. He has average speed with the potential for more. At shortstop, he has plus range, steady hands and a solid arm with good accuracy. He displays fine instincts at the plate and in the field. Carrying just 160 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame, Castro needs to get stronger. Once he does, he could have close to average power and plus speed. He's still learning how to steal bases after getting caught five times in 11 tries last season. If everything comes together for Castro, the Cubs think he can become their first all-star shortstop since Shawon Dunston in 1990. Figuring out how to get time at shortstop for Castro, Lake, Watkins and 2008 supplemental first-rounder Ryan Flaherty poses a dilemma. Chicago will make sure Castro plays regularly there in 2009, most likely at Boise.
Minor League Top Prospects
Castro not only made the jump from Rookie ball last year to high Class A at age 19, but he also played just as well following a promotion to Double-A in August. While he was at Daytona, he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the FSL's shortstops. Castro has excellent range to both sides to go with a strong, accurate arm. His bat isn't as advanced as his glove, but he has the ability to square up balls--he finished third in the league in hitting at .302--and has enough strength in his wrists to eventually hit for some power.
The AZL Cubs had two intriguing 18-year-old Dominican infielders, Castro and Junior Lake, who rotated between shortstop, second base and third base. Opinions are split as to which is the better prospect, with Castro getting the nod here after improving significantly in the second half. Castro has a good approach at the plate and handles curveballs better than most young players. He flashes some power and will have more once he adds to the 160 pounds he carries on his 6-foot-1 frame. With plus range and a solid, accurate arm, he can handle any position in the infield.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Chicago Cubs in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the Florida State League in 2009