As Starlin Castro prepares to take over at second base, what should Yankee fans expect from him in New York?
By Jamie Martin
Second baseman Starlin Castro has become a New York Yankee at a period in his career that is a sort of crossroads. Some have begun to doubt the abilities of a youngster once touted as one of the best prospects in Major League Baseball.
Castro has arrived at the right place to prove his doubters wrong.
New York is a city like no other; it is a stage like no other, and Starlin Castro has the ability to thrive in such an environment. Fans will hope that he can bring success to such an accomplished franchise, and there is no reason to think that he can not.
The Yankees made a very bold, almost improbable acquisition in acquiring Castro from the Chicago Cubs for shortstop Brendan Ryan and reliever Adam Warren; one that was taken with mixed feelings from fans and analysts around the league.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman offered his thoughts on the move shortly after the trade was completed:
“He looked like a different player at second. We have been on Castro for a while, not just this winter. We tried to get him at the [trade] deadline [last July 31], “We felt in our evaluations that he could be a pretty interesting player at second. When the Cubs made the switch we got confirmation of that.’’
Its an interesting proposition for an athletic, young player like Castro to transition to a new position in hopes of better performance, and one that the Yankees feel could work in their favor. He was acquired for a cheap price, and under contract until 2019.
The Yankees made an intelligent acquisition with many benefits for the future of the ball club.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 4, 2016
Both Castro and the Yankees have shown enthusiasm regarding his addition to the roster, with the Dominican’s vibrant personality looking likely to fit comfortably into the culture of New York City. Though his attitude is not in question, many fans are likely wondering what to expect in 2016 and beyond from their new second basemen.
It is highly likely that the three-time All Star will begin the season as the starting second basemen, though it is possible that he could see time at shortstop, or third base depending upon rest and injuries.
It is difficult to predict where he will fit in the Yankee lineup but a probable position would be in the 6th or 7th spot. Castro possesses decent power and has consistently hit for a strong average during his Major League career, so Yankee manager Joe Girardi could utilize him in multiple different spots.
Regardless of where he will find himself in the lineup, Starlin Castro is an exciting player who was worth acquiring, for both the present and future, of the New York Yankees organization.
He will benefit from the intense, demanding environment of Yankee Stadium and will provide an injection of youth into a diverse group. Though 2011 comparisons to Derek Jeter will never materialize, Castro is an above-average infielder with the potential to be one of the most exciting players in the American League.
A month ago I projected the stats for the 2016 Yankees. Here are Castro’s numbers:
GP: 143, AVG: .266, HR: 12, RBI: 71
At the very least, Castro will serve as a substantial upgrade over last year’s second baseman Stephen Drew, but fans should expect much more from a player that has the ability to, and hopefully will be, a very important Yankee for years to come.