New York Yankees: Defense Limits Starlin Castro's All-Star Potential
Apr 21, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro (14) drops a ball for an error allowing a run to score for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Off to an incredible start this season, the only bump in the road to making Starlin Castro great for the New York Yankees is his defense.

The New York Yankees made the deal of the century when they snagged Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for short-term rental Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan.

Now, one full season later, Castro is on the verge of becoming an All-Star for the fourth time in his young career. He has caught fire and is completely destroying the baseball.

While the offensive side for Castro is working, his defense is what is limiting him from his true potential. Unless you’re a designated hitter, your job is to both play the field and hit the ball. This season, he’s certainly had his defensive struggles.

So far in 2017, Castro has a .977 fielding percentage, ranked 19th amongst MLB second basemen. In the category of Defensive Wins Above Replacement, Castro ranks 86th amongst MLB second basemen at -0.2.

He has botched throws during pivotal moments in the game. He has looked away before the ball lands in his glove, resulting in dropped catches and unearned runs.

Yet Castro keeps us coming back, as he performs miraculous feats in the field that make us forget all the poor plays he’s made.

Well, fans will say, at least he’s not Stephen Drew.

And that’s very true. Castro has been the first truly reliable second baseman the Yankees have had since Robinson Cano ditched New York. He has provided stability at second base because he rarely succumbs to injury.

No, he’s not Drew. But we shouldn’t settle for someone who is “not Drew.” Basically, we shouldn’t be settling for a mediocre Castro when we could be seeing so much more out of him. And he shouldn’t want to settle for simply being mediocre himself.

On the offensive side, he’s been absolutely incredible for the Yankees. With all eyes on newcomer Aaron Judge, Castro has given fans another hot start to take notice of.

Castro currently ranks sixth in the American League in batting average (.328) and is second in hits (59), behind only division-rival Corey Dickerson.

And offensively, Castro has come through in huge spots. He was the one that forced extra innings with a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles on April 28. He also had a monster game in his former ballpark in Chicago, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double.

The offense is enough to give him a spot on the All-Star team this year. But his defensive struggles have been holding him back from being a truly incredible player.

He has struggled for years. However, his fielding percentage has gone up each year, which is a great sign for the future. As soon as Castro becomes the defensive wizard he has the potential to be, then he will truly become a Yankee great.

Castro’s offense has been a work in progress. With that seemingly fixed, now it is his defense that should be a focus. If he can’t make routine plays, no matter how well he’s hitting, he could easily be out of the Bronx.

He needs to be a consistent player in the infield if the Yankees are going to have success. Just last week he failed to convert a throw to first to complete the double play. Luckily the inning ended before any damage was done, but those are mistakes that cannot be made.

We’ve seen years of incompetent defense with a carousel of players taking over second base since Cano. We finally might have gotten our second baseman if he can straighten out his defense.

Starlin Castro has given us plenty to cheer about at the dish. He’s an All-Star at the plate and now it is time for him to live up to his potential in the field.

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.