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Drawing the wind and learning to live with flaws: Why I can relate to Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.

Drawing the wind and learning to live with flaws: Why I can relate to Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.

When I was a kid about to enter school for the first time in my life, I had some holes in my game.  I spoke with a Spanish accent (and I was the only Hispanic kid in my neighborhood).  My fine motor skills hadn't quite developed yet.  Cutting shapes out of pieces of paper was like my slider low and away.  I just couldn't seem to master it.  And forget beginner's art.  I fashioned clay sculptures that looked like they were created by someone wearing boxing gloves.

Back in those days they used to track students by their so-called abilities.  My friend and I now joke that it was separated into 3 groups:  the Gold group, the Silver group, and the Brown group.  I was most decidedly placed in the Brown group in kindergarten.

I was a quiet kid back then, some would say shy -- but not really.  That wasn't quite the right word.  I preferred to observe things and to listen rather than talk, so I didn't say anything.  Besides, I didn't know any better.  I was 5 years old.

But you see, I wasn't completely without skills.  I could already read and write in two languages -- and had been doing so by my 3rd birthday.  By the time I entered kindergarten, I could read the Chicago Tribune.  And so when I finally got to school and discovered we were going to learn the alphabet, I was as indignant as a 5 year old could get.  I told my mom I never wanted to go back there again.

But my mom was patient.  She said it was early and perhaps they were getting to the good stuff later, so I reluctantly went back.  Soon afterward we had an assignment where we had to write something.  Hooray!  When I got the paper, my excitement immediately turned to confusion.  The words were already written.  It was  in dotted lines, but the word was clearly there.

It said "wind".

I quickly deduced that the teacher had made a mistake.  Surely she didn't want us to re-write words that were already there.  So I didn't follow the instructions.  I didn't trace the word.

I drew it.

That is to say, I drew the wind.  And in case you are wondering what it looks like, it looks like a mix of straight and squiggly lines with leaves floating randomly in between them.  The paper had all kinds of similar words in dotted lines --  and I drew all of them.

My kindergarten teacher, bless her heart, was pretty clever.  She gave my paper a star.  And then she asked me to read and write all kinds of random words, which I gleefully did.  In the next few days I would get pulled out of class where I would sit at a desk and take odd tests.  And then one day, the tests stopped.  My teacher, Ms. Foster, pinned a note to my shirt and said that I was to leave it there until I got home.  You see, back then we pretty much walked ourselves to school and I lived just a block away from mine.   Of course, this note could only mean one thing, I was in huge trouble.  I had only seen the bad kids get notes pinned on them.  So I cried all the way home.

When my mom opened the note, I braced myself for the worst -- but she didn't get angry.  Instead, he smiled and gave me a hug  The note said I was going to go to the 2nd grade.  I was getting promoted!

I began to love school (ok, that's not true, I just tolerated it better),  my "shyness" disappeared and I made all kinds of friends in the 2nd grade.

But here is the thing: I still can't cut shapes well from a piece of paper.  I have to ask my wife to do it if it comes up.  I cannot wrap gifts well.  They look like they were done by someone wearing mittens (I have improved from boxing gloves, but not by much).  My penmanship is horrific.  Thank goodness for the advent of computers.  I still like to draw and have learned to be pretty good at it,  but I cannot sculpt or fashion things well with my hands -- unusual because my dad was a carpenter as a young man and still creates things with his hands, something that makes me quite envious to this day.  I am not what you would call handy around the house, but I have improved enough over the years where I can do these things if needed.  It may not be pretty, but it'll work.

These were things I never quite learned to do well -- and probably never will. Yet they were deemed so necessary at the time I entered school.  It was a cookie cutter formula that determined what kind of student you were and whether you were Gold, Silver, or Brown.   But the truth is that it is all nonsense.  We learn to adapt and do well with what we have.

So why am I telling this story?

Well, I actually thought about it yesterday as I still get emails/tweets from fans frustrated that Starlin Castro doesn't walk or that Javier Baez still swings from his heels.

Well, what about the things they can do?  What about their strengths?  This is exactly what Theo Epstein seemed to say yesterday on the Score when talking about Castro, (the quote is taken from Brett's paraphrasing of his interview on BN),

Hitters have to be themselves; you can’t make them into automatons. If a hitter doesn't feel natural, he can’t hit well. I think there’s a misperception about what we were trying to do with Starlin Castro last year. First, do no harm. But, over time, if you focus on some simple concepts, you can improve a player in the long run. You don’t want to take away Castro’s incredible hand-eye ability, but you can help him in the long by helping him focus on how good he is when he gets a pitch he can drive. I think you’re seeing a lot of progress from Castro this year.

And what Castro is is one heck of an offensive SS.  Some of you may remember that one scout told me he saw Hanley Ramirez in him before the season -- if only he could get his head on straight.  Well, lo and behold, Castro's head is on straight and is now tied for 2nd among all shortstops in wOBA -- which is my favorite all-encompassing offensive statistic.  And who is he tied with?  Why Hanley Ramirez, of course.

So what if he doesn't walk?  He is among the top offensive shortstops in the game!  Why are we sill worried about walks?  Castro has started the process of  swinging at better pitches, maybe that will translate to walks one day, maybe it won't -- but either way it has helped him become a serious offensive threat while playing average defense at a premium position.

Similarly, who cares if Javier Baez may never hit .300?  Who cares if he is going to strikeout and be made to look bad at the plate from time to time?  If he can hit 30+ bombs with good defense from the 2B position, he will be an asset to the team, even if it isn't in the same way that we like our hitters to be.  Not everyone is going to be Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, or Kyle Schwarber when it comes to discipline and a mature overall approach.

I think Baez is having his 2013 Starlin Castro year.   He's struggling with a few new concepts he will probably never be great at, but that doesn't mean he can't be a productive ballplayer or that he can't gradually improve them to the point where it can have a subtle, positive affect on his overall game, as it has with Castro.

Not everyone traces the word "wind", some of us prefer draw it.

And who is to say that isn't worth a star?

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Love this post, John! I remember trying so hard in handwriting class, but I never developed that skill. I always wanted my assignments posted on the board outside the principal's office, which was considered a high honor in my elementary school. I, too, am grateful for computers.

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    Ha! Thanks. I thought this was a piece many of us could relate to in our own way. Thanks for sharing!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, awesome story!!
    I can relate walking a block or two home from school & crying with a pin-up note attached to my shirt from Sister Jeanette @ St. Gregory's---RIP!!
    Thank you for all of your hard work & making this blog a great read.

  • In reply to Coach Rusty:

    Thanks Coach!

  • John, Great post! Nice change-up and it earns a gold star.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Thanks Toby! Sometimes it's just fun to write for the sake of writing.

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    Great post, John. Loved your story and the point you made.

  • In reply to Luke Slabaugh:

    Thanks Luke!

  • Wish I could have watched the game today. Was Arrieta as dominant as his line indicates?

    Always nice when Castro and Rizzo combine for 6 hits as well.

  • In reply to Eric:

    other than the solo HR in the 1st, he was lights out...

  • In reply to Eric:

    Yes he was. Throwing the ball right by guys.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    How to get a TOR pitcher without giving up the Farm. By, Theo Epstein, illustrated by Jed Hoyer.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Arrietta was on,.... he showed flashes of that last year, and while with the Orioles - but has never managed to put it all together consistently and for more than those flashes.

    IF Arrietta can replicate this sort of performance regularly this year, and into the next couple of years - we may not need to be shopping elsewhere for our 'Ace'. May have gotten him in exchange for a few months of FELDMAN!

  • All I gotta say on the Castro subject,..... he's bringing it offensively this season,...

    Now leading the team in RBI, 10 HR already, batting average back north of 0.280, and turning out to be an at least passable #4 hitter.

    Baez is going to have his work cut out for him to move Castro off of SS next season.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Castro is a beast, He moves for no man.

    Baez will be the guy to move.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My implication exactly John. Wonder how long it will be before Baez starts getting regular reps at 3B or 2B? Obviously, he's still getting his offensive game back together down in Iowa, so no big need to do the switch yet.

    I'm still hoping that Olt puts his offense together this season - but would love to see an infield of Bryant, Castro, Baez, Rizzo gelling come mid 2015 in Wrigley.

  • Castro wont move

  • You dont need EVERY player to be an OBP machine, just 2 or 3. Rizzo, Bryant , Schwarber can be power/ops types. I prefer Baez to do what he does best. .250 hitter with 35HR and 110 Rbis? Ill gladly take it.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'd take that from him in a heartbeat -- not that he can't do better, but I'd be happy with that.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Baez will be more than a .250 hitter. Maybe for the first couple of seasons, but his hit tool is too good for .250

  • I thought I had bad penmanship. My son almost can't write! But he sure can type!

    Are you seeing the post game? Holandsworth after the game Castro had is picking on the one at-bat he didn't like. Castro didn't get Rizzo over from 2nd to 3rd. Sometimes the flaws can blind you to the over-all picture.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    The Chicago media is bound and determined to deface Castro, who is quietly making his way into numerous "Top 50 All-Time Cub" statistic categories after only three full seasons, and still has at least seven years locked up to pile on. Wish they'd appreciate him for what he is, an incredibly productive SS, and not expect him to be the next Ernie or Ryno.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    They'll pretend they loved him the whole time when he is collecting his 3000th hit.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    And they're the same fans who think Ricketts is a cheap, bottom line man and who think the FO's heads should roll after two and a half seasons. But they'll pretend to love them when the Cubs are competing every year.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    I have no idea how these kids today can stand writing a 3 to 4 page essay without using cursive. But they do it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They type it.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    It was ridiculous. Do you remember the last time Giancarlo Stanton moved someone over? Or Rizzo for that matter?

    That's because it doesn't happen

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Don't be too hard on Holly, he praises Castro a lot on the national stage when he does First Pitch.

  • fb_avatar

    Great story John. Thanks for sharing. Your 'wind' reminds me of a personal experience I had in my sophomore year art class. The assignment was simple, "paint a gumball machine"
    I took one tube of paint, a roller and in two strokes and ten seconds, the entire "canvas" was one big sheet of purple.
    I folded my arms and sat back, waiting for the teacher. "What's this?" she asked.
    "Grape. Extreme close up." I said, smiling, I went on to explain that I wasn't being lazy, just different. I didn't want my work to look like everyone else's - a bunch of colored dots inside a circle.
    I got an A. :-)

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Haha! I like it.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I had the same assignment back in the day and brought in an old gumball machine painted gun metal grey and filled with multiple colored marbles that looked like gumballs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Richard Hood:

    That's a cool idea.

  • if Alcantara does well as a september call up.. he could have dibs on 2nd.. move Baez to third (doesnt have the greatest glove anyways), and Bryant to RF ( Bryant didnt have the greatest defensive numbers either @ Tenn)..

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    And then where do you put Soler and Schwarber when they come up? Do you move Bryant back to 3rd? and Baez back to 2nd?

  • meanwhile hollandsworth goes on about castro not moving rizzo over in one of his at bats. True he could have moved him over but can we just stop with the ''he had a good day but'' stuff.

  • Love me some wOBA as well. Combines the two most important facets of offense. How good are you at not making outs? And to a lesser extent, when you don't make outs, what base are you standing on? It allows you to pretty accurately compare the offensive productivity of Shin-Soo Choo to Giancarlo Stanton, two incredibly different players. Turns out, they produce a similar amount of runs no matter how differently.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    You mean OPS or am I missing something?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    OPS is similar in that it is based on OBP and Slug %, but it's assuming they are just as valuable as each other by simply combining them. Advanced metrics show this not to be true, with higher OBPs being slightly more valuable than higher slugging as far as generating runs (close to a 2:1 ratio), so the OPS stat is a little skewed. Weighted on base average, or wOBA, was created to combine this relationship between OBP and slugging. wOBA is viewed as a sort of a rough overall summary of a players ability to generate runs for his team. The higher your wOBA, the better you are statistically at creating runs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    nmu & pete,
    Thanks for clarifying. I am familiar with OBA and wOBA, but for some reason, I thought you were abbreviating On Base Average. I don't know why.
    Thx

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    No he means wOBA. It is similar to OPS, but it doesn't weigh BA quiet as much as OPS I believe.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    wOBA weights doubles more than singles, triples more than doubles and homers more than triples..

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    What CubfanInUT says is correct, and it does not take BA into account at all, as it is a pretty useless stat in the sense that it doesn't take a lot of really basic and important things into account.

  • If Javy hits 50 bombs, he can strike out as much as he wants. :)

  • In reply to John57:

    As long as he doesn't turn into Adam Dunn (c2012-2013) - and plays better defense - he can K 200x / year if he hits 50 HR and knocks in 100+.runs.

  • My teacher pinned a note on me that said 'please send your child back next year'.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    In a good way or a bad way? :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There's a good way?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Haha! I thought maybe she thought meant send them back to her class ;)

  • fb_avatar

    By the way John, I was also the only "Hispanic" kid in my neighborhood - only I'm not Hispanic.
    You see, the year I turned 10 (1978), we moved in the middle of the summer to the whitest of wonder bread neighborhoods and as an Italian kid with a dark tan, one heII of a Jew-Fro and a strange sounding last name, most of the kids thought I was "Mexican" which was their all encompassing word for anyone of Latin heritage.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Sounds like The Ledges...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    lol Close. A very similar type of neighborhood, indeed.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Haha! Funny thing is many people don't think I'm Hispanic. I grew up with a lot of Italians -- and some thought I was Italian. When I went to college, many of my best friends were Jewish, and so some thought I was Jewish.

    I think maybe I am just enough of a mutt (Ecuadorian, Brazilian, German, Dutch) to look just enough like any given nationality and blend in wherever I go.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nothing wrong with being a Mutt,.... married one that's Turkish/English/Italian. Am complex mix of German/Scottish/Dutch myself

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    :)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    My granddaughter is a mutt extraordinaire. She is made up of ELEVEN different nationalities. I am Italian and 1/8th Russian and Polish on my mother's side. My wife is Irish, French, Dutch and German. My daughter's ex is Italian, English, American Indian, Spanish and Filipino.

    I suppose we're also supposed to talk baseball so...Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Wow! My wife on the other hand is so "American" that she goes back to the daughters of the American Revolution on both sides of her family.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Really? Wow. That is something. I wish I could trace my family back more than just a couple of generations.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Yeah, it's pretty cool. I have some records on one side, and they go back to the Netherlands, then Germany, then Prussia, then Ukraine, then Brazil. Interesting history but I don't know much of the other side other than Ecuador and some early Spanish roots.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    You'll notice in the movies lots of Jews (Harvey Kietel, et. al.) play Italians and lots of Italians (DeNiro) play Jews. Sometimes it good to be a chameleon.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I enjoy it!

  • Great post, John. The comments from Theo really filled in the gaps in my understanding of "The Plan" and made me even more confident that a World Series win is within Cubs' near future. I was especially interested in Theo's explanation of their player development strategies and it removes much of my impatience with Starlin Castro's performance that I was griping about earlier. This should be required reading for all frustrated Cubs fans!

  • In reply to toboyle9:

    Thank you.

    And I thought that quote cleared the air a lot as well.

  • Don't sweat the small stuff. A competitive team is near.

  • Looks like A. Vizcaino & A. Rivero have also been promoted to AAA.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Yes, both deserving! I think I am going to wait until the recaps because I think more may be coming. But if you hear them, by all means, mention them as they come!

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Wow, there is going to be some major house cleaning on the Iowa roster. Where are they going to fit all these guys? A couple of guys are going to have to get their walking papers.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SouthsideB:

    That makes Iowa three players over the roster limit. Something is brewing!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubsforlife:

    I think Villanueva returns to Tenn to find his stroke and hopefully the next uniform Josh Critters puts on will be for Burger King

  • One of my older brothers skipped a grade in grade school, but he struggled socially, so my parents didn't consider it with me. Much to my detriment unfortunately. I hung out with my older brothers all the time. All of the kids "my age" in our neighborhood were older than me, including my next door neighbor/best friend who was 2 years older than me. I would have been much more comfortable in the long run had I been moved up (I was always small even amongst kids my age anyway so that wouldn't have been a big deal to me). Instead I got put in all the advanced classes, but just ended up being bored the entire time. I figured out in 2nd grade that I could do absolutely no homework or studying and could get at least a B on every test so why bother? I ended up developing a horrible work ethic because I never had to try.

    This is why I have always been on the side of pushing prospects to levels that challenge them. The season Baez is having doesn't bother me a bit. He will learn from it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I can relate to that. I was supposed to move up again, this time from 3rd to 5th again, but my parents said no -- and for the same reasons. I was already small for my age and had made a lot of friends in 2nd/3rd grade. My mom thought the physical and social aspects of school began to outweigh the need for academics. Instead they just pulled me out of class occasionally -- which I accepted but didn't like. I'm a pretty social person and I didn't want to seem different.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think I actually tried to make school harder for myself by doing no work outside of class and actually missing class all the time. I missed 36 days of school in 2nd grade and never had any problems keeping up on classwork. I never missed less than twenty in any year. I have a vivid memory of the first time I watched Ferris Bueller when I was kid and there was the scene about the principal dwelling on him missing 9 days of school and thinking to myself "what's the big deal, I've missed that many in a month."

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Haha! I have an uncle who used to ditch school -- to go to the library.

  • fb_avatar

    Jon Heyman has a new article on shark and theo. I don't know how to link it w my iPad, but just go to cbssports and click MLB.

    Not sure what to guess from the article, why haven't sharks people counter offered if he really believes and wants to stay here ? Is the FO playing chicken w him w there latest offer? Or is he good as gone?

    Probably wont know the answer until the very end.

    John, great story, your writing skills are truly fantastic.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Thank you Jim, maybe Mike can track that one down and link it for his next rumors piece.

  • Heck John I'm 57 and I still print

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    Me too!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, not the 57 part :)

  • oh boy , the I Cubs just became a better team then the parent club , and I am half serious about that, I cant wait till Theo puts all the parts of this Frankenstien monster together . Smell that stench just west of E STL , besides the river and meth labs its call fear.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't know if the parent club is that bad anymore. They're playing some great baseball.

  • In reply to JRS1:

    I did say half serious :) but I bet the I Cubs with the new promotions could be competitive .

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I would give you they might be right w the Chicago cubs pen vs pen.

    Offense wise it would be close, the debate can go both ways.

    The starting rotation is where the Chicago cubs would just destroy the Iowa cubs. I don't even see a MLB caliber #3 anywhere in that Iowa rotation. Just my opinion though

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JRS1:

    Yup, they are a joy to watch now. I just wish they signed a bat this offseason like mike morse or Nelson Cruz. I am fairly confident we would be right in the race.

    Although that would make it hard for the FO to be sellers at deadline ( which we should be) as the fans would want us to be buyers trying to get David Price.

    So perhaps it's a blessing in disguise they went dumpster diving for bats this past offseason.

  • John,

    By the way, the drawing the wind bit is absolutely awesome. I congratulate the 5 year old you.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thanks!

  • John,
    Great read, I think Starlin has had to unfairly carry a lot of the weight for the last few years of the organizations disappointment.
    I don't think he gets enough credit for his physical toughness. He seems to shake off minor injuries that I have seen others leave the field.

    The concern I have is Theo's past with Nomar. He did not think his defense was good enough to win a championship, traded him and won. Are the two scenarios entirely different ?

  • In reply to ejs1:

    That is a good point about the injuries -- and he has shaken off a lot of the mental stuff too. Tough kid to take the kind of criticism he did and come back better than ever.

  • In reply to ejs1:

    Nomar was breaking down physically. He was not capable of playing the type of SS that Castro can for the next 5+ years.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ejs1:

    Kinda of except the fact that Castro has not even entered his prime whereas Nomar's best years were behind him plus the future salary relief.

    If I was a Red Sox fan, I would feel sorry for Nomar. He gave so much to that franchise and played every game like it was his last. Although I am pretty sure he's still well received in bean town.

    IMO, I think they could have won w a healthy Nomar, but they didn't believe he would ever be 100% again and turned him into two gold glove caliber defenders in Doug Meinkewitz and Orlando Cabrera.

    I am not sure if this was his intention, but by trading their icon player, it put the rest of the organization on notice that everyone is tradable so you veterans better give it your all and you youngsters, keep getting better !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Agreed -- different situation from Nomar in terms of age, cost.

  • fb_avatar

    OT: Mariners sign Alex Jackson. Bonus is over $4 million. The Schwarber pick just went from good to outstanding.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I wonder if he put this price out well before the draft and that's why there was never even a murmur of the Cubs considering him?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Get the feeling price was secondary. If they thought he was the guy, they would have paid it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, just as they did with Almora and Bryant. They got their cake and ate it too.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Right, I agree. I just mean as far as from the press.

  • Great article. I'm definitely guilty of screaming things like "have an approach" and "figure it out" more than my fair share of times at Starlin through the TV screen. For me its been the defensive miscues more than the approach at the dish. He's been really good this year though. I'm more than happy to live with all of that since he's been able to collect 774 hits in the big leagues before his 25th birthday. I'm really glad he's ours.

    I can tell you right now that Javy's going to have me doing the same thing. Soriano could be a tough watch. There were times when he came up when it seemed as if my Mom could bounce three breaking balls in a row and strike him out, then other times when you were checking every ball for urine for two weeks at a time. I'm Javy will be similar. Glad he's ours too.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thank you Ben.

    And I would take a Soriano type player from Baez (less speed, maybe a lower average, but better defense at a more premium spot)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    john new poster love site like to share something

    i was umpiring a little leaguegame and there was a 12 yr who did not have a high averagebut did mange to drive in runs . he hit one off the fence to win the game . and was asked how he could hit after going 0-2 he said thats what i do

    castro and baiez thats what they do you can not change everything without losing something

  • In reply to oldcubsfan:

    Agreed. Good way to look at it.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one Jon. Nice, change of pace.

  • In reply to Mike:

    Thanks Mike.

    I thought maybe we were due for a change-up :)

  • In a perfect world, you want a lineup full of Mike Trouts, but that's not realistic. Baez and Castro don't need to be OBP machines to be good players, they've both got enough bat and defense to be very good MLB players. In a way, they've got to be smart enough to know that's not who they are and make their lives work around that, much like you have when it comes to things like cutting shapes or wrapping presents.

    I don't want them being someone they aren't and sacrificing power to get a higher walk rate. Be the best offensive middle infield duo in the game with at least average defense and it's a win. The Rizzos, Almoras, Schwarbers and Bryants of the world can wear down opposing pitchers with their eyes.

  • Good article. Although I don't think I'd qualify this year as Baez' Castro season. I think the nearest thing is Bae'z own 2013 season. Except its taking him a bit longer to go through the adjustment period, and I don't think when he does break through he'll be able to terrorize the league the way he did in 2013.

    I think Almora's season is Castro's. I think they're working on him, to being less aggressive, finding his pitch to punish. Stop being content to smack a pitchers pitch the other way. I think like Castro this is a significant enough change it will take a while, and like Castro it will probably be for the best in the long run.

  • fb_avatar

    John, I am a long time lurker and love the site! This article is one of the most insightful and well written posts I've seen anywhere.

  • In reply to Brad Hoffer:

    Thank you Brad, I appreciate that.

  • Great article, John. Thanks.

    Castro instantly became my favorite Cub the first time I saw him play (I assume the first game he played as a Cub). I look forward to many more years of enjoying his play.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Thank your Richard -- and I agree, he is fun to watch, especially when he is locked in at the plate.

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