I’m sure Jack McKeon would have benched Starlin Castro for the rest of the decade by now, but Cubs manager Mike Quade has taken a less extreme approach to handling the 21-year-old shortstop’s lack of hustle.
In the first inning of yesterday’s game Castro failed to run after a ground ball that went past him and into the outfield, forcing center fielder Reed Johnson to make the play, and after giving him an immediate scolding Quade later said:
It better not happen again, and he knows it. He just gets frustrated. He wants to make the play. He doesn’t make the play, and then just has a letdown. I’m sorry he didn’t make the play either. It would’ve been a great play. But stay after the play and stay involved. Then later on he dove for a ball and Reed was right there. That bothered me some.
Quade went on to praise Castro’s overall performance this season and promoted his All-Star candidacy. A manager freaking out about a 21-year-old’s lack of hustle would create more headlines and garner approval from a certain segment of the fan base, but ultimately I think Quade is taking the right approach. Castro is an incredible young talent having an excellent season and if the manager is confident his lack of hustle won’t turn into a bigger problems there’s no reason to blow things out of proportion for now.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.