Starlin Castro makes history in major league debut

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Starlin Castro.jpgBefore Friday’s game against the Reds, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said the club wasn’t asking top prospect Starlin Castro to provide a “spark” for the team. Well, Castro must have missed that memo.

On Friday, the 20-year-old Dominican became the first player in major league history to drive in six runs in their major league debut. The previous record-holder — the immortal Ben Grieve — drove in five runs on September 3, 1997.

Castro connected for a three-run home run in his first at-bat in the second inning — the third player to do it this season (Jason Heyward, Luke Hughes) — and the sixth in Cubs history. The last Cubs player to accomplish the feat was pitcher Jim Bullinger on June 8, 1992. If that wasn’t enough, Castro later added a three-run triple in the fifth.

Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva summed the youngster’s night up pretty well:

“Unbelievable. I was hitting behind him, looking at everything he was
doing. I was like: ‘Wow.'”

I’m a little worried that short-term expectations could get out of control after a historic night like this, but the North Siders and their fans have a homegrown player to be very excited about. And that’s always a good thing for this game.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays; Yankees land Brandon Drury

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.