U25 Updates Rizzo Castro Olt Lake

U25 Updates Rizzo Castro Olt Lake

The Cubs record isn't very good right now and the bullpen has been incredibly infuriating. The offense has a spark, however and it's being powered by Emilio Bonifacio and some of the kids we've been hoping would have good seasons. Let's take a look at the U25 crowd.

  • Anthony Rizzo - Have you noticed something different with Rizzo this year? My eyes have been telling me that Rizzo is going the other way against the shift early on in the season. I've long said that if Rizzo could somehow find a way to recover the singles he was missing last year his overall slash line would greatly benefit from it. It's ridiculously early in the season and I don't expect his robust slash line to hold up at all over the course of the season but, well, 375 .459 .531 has a way of grabbing your attention. Let's take a look at two charts here.This is where Rizzo hit balls against LHP in 2013:rizzolhp2013And here's what he's doing early in 2014:
    Rizzolhp2014You can also check this link to see what types of balls he's hitting against LHP. Again, it's early and that's the main caveat but it certainly looks like Rizzo is doing a better job against same side pitching and he's not hitting as many pop ups as he has in the past. I think of Rizzo as a .260-.270 hitter with the on base skills to post OBP's in the .360+ range. Given the power that he possesses if he can maintain the improved approach against lefties that he's shown early on this season I think it bodes extremely well.
  • Starlin Castro - I remember this guy. Let's take a look back at where Starlin struggled inexplicably last year:
    Those are Castro's Swing and Miss rates on fastballs last year.

    We will need about 65 more PAs before these samples become reliable but of all the indicators on how Starlin Castro is hitting his WHIFF rates on fastballs, specifically fastballs down the middle, is perhaps the most important. For contrast here are Castro's rates in 2011 when he was teasing at elite level talent.

    Keep an eye on the swings and misses on the hard stuff. It'll let you know how well Castro is playing.

  • Junior Lake and Mike Olt - There's been a lot of hand wringing about the playing time both of these players are receiving early in the season. There are various reasons why fans shouldn't freak out about this and they all relate to the calendar. It's too early to fret over playing time and platoon situations. I do think Mike Olt and Lake will eventually get to 500 PAs apiece if they're both going well. There's no one pushing Olt for playing time quite yet. Lake is a fun mystery to revel in. I'm still skeptical about his big league future and he looks like a very talented 4th OFer to me but he's making it very difficult to hold on to that evaluation. I want to believe in Lake and sometimes I'll close my eyes and allow myself to dream the scenario where he's a 30-20 guy with a .340 OBP. It's an irresponsible dream and one that is based mainly in the abstract but I enjoy it.

Filed under: Analysis

Tags: Castro, Cubs, mlb, Rizzo


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  • great stuff!

  • Agreed on Lake. Just don't think he has the discipline to be a consistent hitter. The more the league sees him, the more junk he will see. He had two walks early, but his K rate is over 30% right now.

    Castro I am excited about. But lets remember, he was hitting .315 last year after 10 games. As you said, lets wait another 20 games to start drawing some conclusions.

    Like what Rizzo is doing. Would also like to see a little more pop. I think he has it in him to hit 25-30 HR (as a matter of fact, I have a hundo on it in Vegas).

    Olt. Geez. I just don't even have an opinion of him just yet. Needs more AB's for sure.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Lake the cunundrum? he looks bad but continues to produce.

    He actually has a pretty good eye at the plate. I dont think he can hit a curveball going away from him (if he ever learns to hit that to rightfield look out) i think he see the curveball ok just doesnt seem to make much contact on it.

    But then you see that easy swing that produced that bomb the other night you see the power potential and say wow.

    Play him against everyone I am not worried about his confidence can he make the adjustments necessary thats what we need to find out.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    People I've talked to frequently question his ability to recognize spin and that's really the main determining factor when it comes to batting eye.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Spin is key.

    In high school I was a good hitter because I could hit any fastball. then in college I didnt see the batters box much (I was a pitcher anyway), because college curves and sliders were that much better and I had a heck of a time picking up the spin on the ball. If you cant pick up that tight spin then you are screwed.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah and judging by his swing tendencies I think he does have issues with spin, especially on the outer half. I'll dig in.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Castro has more hits than Pete Rose at this point in their careers. Hopefully he continues but man were most writing him off this winter.

  • Lake swings at those low breaking balls.. kinda like soriano did. until he learns to lay off those he will contine to have a high K rate, I think

    pretty sure he is aware of it, with the way he reacts when he swings and misses at em

  • I continue to wonder if Lake can work himself into a solid utility man, where he can get back to playing OF, SS, and 3B.

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    I like your writing style. You clearly do the research and take this baseball writing thing seriously, and responsibly and I respect that. You and John do a great job of balancing fandom with unbiased journalism. Good job.

    I am the same way with Lake. He has spectacular written all over him, but I'm still not buying in. Maybe it's because of all the scouting reports I've read on him throughout the years, and my mind has been brainwashed into forming a negative opinion. May be unfair as I have not seen him really falter that badly yet. He's been good defensively too. Hope I'm wrong. If I am can you imagine the outfield situation? Especially with guys like Soler, Almora, possibly Bryant switching to RF, and kids a little further away like Jocob Hannemann, and Eloy Jimenez among others?

    As for Castro and Rizzo they have done this against pretty good pitching too. They get to legitimize themselves further in this St. Louis series. I feel good that both will have big seasons.

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