New York Yankees: Starlin Castro On Pace For Special Campaign
Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees second basemen Starlin Castro (14) singles against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

As New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro‘s hot start refuses to cool off, the 27-year-old is on track for an extraordinary season. 

Since arriving to the New York Yankees from the Chicago Cubs in December of 2015, Starlin Castro was never regarded an all-around threat at the plate.

Sure, he joined Robinson Cano, Joe Gordon and Alfonso Soriano as the only Yankee second baseman to hit 20 or more home runs with a career-high 21 in 2016, but he ranked 19th in overall WAR (1.1), 15th in batting average (.270), 19th in on-base percentage (.300) and 17th in wRC+ (94) among the 21 qualified second baseman in the sport.

In 2017, however, the 27-year-old has done nothing but smack base hits, muscle the ball out of the ballpark and simply perform at a level that we haven’t seen since he made two All-Star appearances in his first three years in the sport. 

Castro currently owns a .340/.373/.527 slash line in 150 at-bats and is currently tied with Corey Dickerson and Kevin Pillar for the American League lead in hits with 51 and finds himself in the major league Top-10 in batting average.

This season, at face value, is certainly hard to overlook yet it has easily been thrown under the rug thanks to Aaron Judge‘s monstrous rise to stardom, Ronald Torreyes‘ fill-in for Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner‘s sudden hot streak, Chase Headley‘s surprise start and many other storylines that took superiority over what many thought was just another sprint out of the gate for Castro.

Yet, right under our noses, Starlin Castro is putting together a special campaign. It’s only May, but hot starts seldom last this long and this blazing commencement to his second year in the Bronx is making many of us wondering what his baseball card could look at when 2017 is all set and done.

With two hits in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Castro became just the third Yankees’ hitter since 2000 to record 50 or more hits through the team’s first 36 games. Alfonso Soriano (2002-03) and Derek Jeter (2007, 2012) were the only other two to do so. Soriano finished with 209 hits in 2002 and 198 in 2003 while Jeter finished with 206 in 2007 and 216 in 2012.

Will the astronomical pace Castro is on stay on course? This start is simply too hard to ignore and, of course, we’re talking about a hot streak that one shouldn’t expect to last 162 games, but we’ll address that by the All-Star break. When you reach around 150 plate appearances (Castro has 153 PA), however, you start to get the feeling that there’s something distinctive going on.

Right now, he’s on pace to finish with 217 hits and 30 home runs. Not only would both be career highs, but it would put him on the list with Don Mattingly and Lou Gehrig as the only three Yankees hitters to reach both those marks in the same season. Talk about special company.