CASTRO, STARLIN  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   SS
Home: N/A Team:   CUBS
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   R
Weight: 190 Throws:   R
DOB: 3/24/1990 Agent: Paul Kinzer
Birth City: Monte Cristy, Dominican Republic Draft: 2006 - Cubs - Free agent
Uniform #: 13  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2007 DSL Dom. Lg. Cubs   60 221 47 66 6 2 2 31 13 2 23 24 .371 .371 .299
2008 AZL AZL-Cubs   51 196 33 61 11 5 3 22 6 5 14 33 .364 .464 .311
2009 SL TENNESSEE   31 111 11 32 6 3 0 14 6 0 10 12 .347 .396 .288
2009 FSL DAYTONA   96 358 45 107 17 3 3 35 22 11 19 41 .338 .388 .299
2010 SL TENNESSEE   26 109 20 40 8 5 1 20 4 5 9 11 .413 .560 .367
2010 NL CUBS   125 463 53 139 31 5 3 41 10 8 29 71 .347 .408 .300
2011 NL CUBS $440.00 158 674 91 207 36 9 10 66 22 9 35 96 .341 .432 .307
2012 NL CUBS $567.00 162 646 78 183 29 12 14 78 25 13 36 100 .323 .430 .283
2013 NL CUBS $5,857.00 161 666 59 163 34 2 10 44 9 6 30 129 .284 .347 .245
2014 NL CUBS   16 65 5 19 2 0 2 9 0 1 2 8 .313 .415 .292
PERSONAL:
 

  • Castro's name, "Starlin," is a tribute to fellow Dominican native Stan Javier, a former big league outfielder and favorite of Diogenes Castro, Starlin’s father. Javier, who now works for the Players Association.

  • Castro's baseball education began on the ragged neighborhood fields of Monte Cristi, a coastal fishing town of 25,000 situated on the northwest edge of the Dominican Republic. The oldest son of a fisherman and a housewife, Starlin-like so many others in his home country-started playing the game with a milk carton for a glove when he was seven.

    He remembers his father, Diogenes, waking up every morning at six to head for the boats docked off Monte Cristi
    . Asked what he'd be doing if he weren't in baseball, Starlin says, without a beat, "Fishing." Diogenes wanted his son to be a pitcher, but Starlin always knew he was destined to be a shortstop because, as a boy, he would "take ground balls all day, until the sun went down."

In the fall of 2006, Starlin, then 16, showed up with his uncle Manuel for a tryout at the Cubs' academy in Santiago. A scout named Jose Serra watched as the boy took grounders at shortstop. "He was so weak, he had nothing coming out of his arm," recalls Serra, "but he had a good arm action, loose and quick, and that was something."

Nothing the boy hit reached the warning track, but "he was the only one who made contact on everything they threw to him-fastballs, changeups, sliders, everything," says Serra
. "You don't see 16-year-olds who can do that."

After the two-hour session Serra approached Manuel and asked what it would take to sign the boy
. "He said $60,000, and I said how about $35,000?" recalls Serra. "He said no, but we could talk after he had another tryout a few days later with the Indians."

 
Driving from Santiago back home to San Pedro, Serra thought to himself, If the Indians see this kid, they're going to sign him. He called Manuel, and they agreed on a $45,000 signing bonus.

When Starlin returned home that day, he told his father, "Now you can rest
. No more fishing. I'll take care of the family now."  (Albert Chen-Sports Illustrated-5/09/11)

  • As a budding shortstop, Starlin Castro was partial to Miguel Tejada, whose chattiness and non-stop energy resonated with him.

  • “He’s kind of a crazy guy,” Castro said. “He has fun all the time. You see him smile, and you can tell how much he loves baseball.

  • During the winter before 2009 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Starlin as 7th-best prospect in the Cubs' farm system.

    But in the winter before 2010 spring camps opened, Castro jumped all the way up to #1 prospect in the Cubs' organization
    .

  •  
  • Starlin is a good team player. And he has a great work ethic. And, for all his multi-tool talents, Castro remains humble, giving credit to his teammates.

    He is quiet, shy, and as of the 2011 season, speaks little English, using an interpreter, which is usually Cubs third base coach Ivan DeJesus
    .

  • His Latino coaches call him zancudo (mosquito).

  • Castro is an intelligent player and a caring teammate. He is a solid, positive presence in the clubhouse.

  • Starlin is a proud Dominican. He aspires to be as successful playing shortstop in the Majors as fellow countrymen Jose Reyes and Miguel Tejada. And his performance has drawn him comparisons with those two, and with Tony Fernandez and even Derek Jeter.

    "I hope to be like them," Castro said of his countrymen, Reyes and Tejada
    . "I know it will take hard work."

  • On May 7, 2010, Castro made his big league debut, becoming the first player born in the 1990s to play in The Show. Against Cincinnati starter Home Bailey, Castro, with two men on, launched a 2-2 pitch into the rightfield beachers at Great American Ball Park in his first Major League at-bat. Later, Starlin added a three-run triple.

    With the performance, Castro became the first player in Major League Baseball history to drive in six runs in his big league debut
    . He also became the third youngest player to hit a homerun in his first at-bat and the sixth Cubs player in team history to do so.

  •  
  • The earliest World Series he recalls watching as a boy was Marlins-Yankees in 2003, when he was 13.

  • In mid-May 2011, Starlin got to sit down and chat with his favorite player, Miguel Tejada.

    "He asked me a lot of questions about the game, how he could be better," Tejada said. "I'd love to help him."

    It's not the first time a young shortstop has reached out to Tejada. Hanley Ramirez and Jose Iglesias also have asked for advice.

  • "It makes me feel good and proud of myself when you see all those young guys who can be superstars of the future and they want to get information," Tejada said. "He asked me how to stay in the big leagues for a long time. He's a really smart kid. I was the same—when I was young, I asked a lot of questions. Because in this game, you never stop learning. That's probably why he's like that.

    "What I like about him is his energy," Tejada said. "He can play defense, he can hit—I think the best part about him is his hitting. I think he's going to be the guy of the future on that team."  (Carrie Muskat-MLB.com-5/14/11)

     
  • In 2011, Castro became the youngest player to ever lead the National League in hits, finishing with 207. Castro's game jersey was sent to the Hall of Fame, in a similar manner to his MLB debut's game jersey.

  • Early in January 2012, Chicago police investigated an accusation that Castro sexually assaulted a woman in the fall of 2012, but no charges were filed and Castro's representatives deny the allegation.

    WBBM Newsradio in Chicago reports that the unidentified woman, who is in her 20s, was at a River North nightclub Sept. 29, 2011, when she met Castro. After 3:00 a.m., she went with a friend to his apartment, where she alleges that the assault took place. The woman went to a hospital the next evening. Police became involved, while Castro left for his offseason in the Dominican Republic, according to the report.

    But on April 20, 2012, Cook County prosecutors said they would not even file charges against Starlin
    . He declined to get into specifics, but said he's learned a lot from the experience and says he now knows to be more careful.

  • March 28, 2013: Starlin left the team to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their child.

  • December 19, 2013: Castro filed a countersuit after reportedly having $3.6 million seized from his bank accounts after the Cubs shortstop refused to pay three percent of his earnings to a Dominican Republic baseball school.

    According to multiple media reports, Castro's father, Diogenis Castro, signed an agreement with Mi Futuro Biliguer (My Future Big Leaguer) and coach Manuel Nunez when Castro was 15, requiring him to pay a percentage of his career earnings if he made the Major Leagues
    .

  •  

    The source told Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com that the countersuit filed by Castro's attorney discredits that contract and that a father cannot sign away a son's future earnings.

    Castro paid Nunez an unspecified amount after signing his first big-league contract, but Nunez believes he is owed future earnings ,and funds were seized from several banks, according to reports.

  • When Castro was called up to the Cubs in May 2010 at the age of 20, Alfonso Soriano, then in his fourth year with the team and 12th in the big leagues, welcomed the infielder into his Chicago home. The invitation didn't come at the team's request or because both were from the Dominican Republic, but rather it came about because that's what some of the Yankees players did for Soriano when he first joined the team in 1999.

    Soriano and Castro didn't just live together, they were inseparable. They trained together, hit together, ate together. "He was kind of like my father," Castro said of his former teammate. "Not everybody can have people who, when you come to the big leagues the first time, take me to his home and let me live with him," Castro said. "I didn't pay a bill, I didn't pay for what I ate, I didn't pay nothing."

  •  

    Soriano would take all the Cubs' Latino players out to dinner every road trip and always picked up the tab. He never let anyone else pay. "He talked about good things, like things you can learn about the game," Castro said of the dinner conversations. "He's a smart guy. He talks about things that you have to listen to and learn. He's awesome. We miss him here."

    Cubs Catcher Wellington Castillo added, "You want to have a guy like him close to you who can help you in everything -- in life, in games," Castillo said. "He was real special for all the Latin players."

    "Soriano'd smile if he was hitting four home runs in a game and making it look easy or making four outs a game," Anthony Rizzo said. "He was always having a good time."

    How close are Castro and Soriano?  Soriano is the godfather of Castro's 1-year-old son, Starling Jr.



    TRANSACTIONS

  • 2006: Castro signed with the Cubs for $45,000, via scout Jose Serra.

  • September 2012: The Cubs signed Castro to a seven-year, $60 million contract.

  •  
     
    BATTING:

    • Castro is a five-tool player. But his excellent bat may not be as advanced as his glove.

      In 2009, Daytona Cubs (FSL) manager Buddy Bailey said, "The only other player I've ever put on a scouting report that, when he plays in the big leagues his team will be a contender to win a championship every year, is Derek Jeter. And (midway through the 2009 season) I put that report in on (Starlin) Castro.

      "He is going to play every day on the big league level and put (the Cubs) in position to win championships," Bailey said. "There are players who play in the big leagues, and then there are players you have who are special and you can win championships with."
  • Starlin hits a lot of balls that have a lot of backspin. His home run totals should improve every year. Eventually, he should hit about 10 or even 20 dingers per season.

  • Starlin has a good approach at the plate. He might remind people of a young Edgar Renteria.

    He has good power, especially for a little guy. That is due to very strong wrists and hands. He covers the plate well, can square up on balls and has enough strength in his wrists to hit more home runs every season.

  • Castro can hit the curveball. Pitching just does not intimidate him. He lets the ball come to him and almost always seems to have an intimidating at-bat. He has no trouble with breaking pitches, often taking the first one from a pitcher he hasn't seen before, sizing it up and attacking the next.

  •  
  • Starlin makes so much contact that he doesn't draw many walks, though he does work counts. He's still learning to look for pitches he can drive in certain situations.

    His plate coverage is comparable to Vladimir Guerrero.

  • In 2011, Castro became the youngest player ever to lead the National League in hits, finishing with 207. Before that, the youngest hits champion was the Cubs' Charlie Hollocher in 1918, who was 22 years and 83 days old. Castro, who finished 2011 with a .307 average, was 21 years and 188 days old.

  • Castro's offensive drought in 2013 was startling.

    On National League advance scout said, "He has looked anxious at the plate. There's too much movement going on before his hands get going. I think his leg kick could be modified as well. When he's right, his swing and movement are more relaxed."

  • As of the start of the 2014 season, Castro's career Major League stats were: .283 batting average, 37 home runs with 229 RBI's in 2,449 at-bats.
  •  
     
    FIELDING:

    • Starlin has very good range to both sides and a strong, accurate arm. He can play any position on the infield.

      He is sound defensively at shortstop and second base.
    • Castro has steady hands and exhibits very good body control.

    • He displays fine instincts in all areas of the game. He anticipates well and moves quickly to both his left and his right. And he can make the play deep in the hole.

      And he has a strong, accurate arm to throw runners out from deep in the hole. His arm rates a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale—top of the line.

    • Starlin's natural ability shows around the bag at shortstop.

      "You can tell he loves to play the game," Cubs minor league coach Tom Beyers said late in 2009. "He plays with a reckless abandon and isn't worried about what's in front of him."

  • 2012: Castro became the first player in Chicago Cubs franchise history to play at shortstop in all 162 games in a season.

    Castro surpassed the single-season franchise mark of 160 set by Ivan DeJesus in 1978 and '79. Wednesday also was Castro's 161st start at short, and he is the first to total that many. DeJesus ('78) and Don Kessinger ('68) both held the previous mark of 158 starts.

    Castro also is the first Cubs infielder to appear in all 162 games in a season since Hall of Famer Ron Santo did so in 1968.

    Only three players in the big leagues have played 162 games at shortstop during the last 10 seasons: Baltimore's Miguel Tejada ('03 and '04), Montreal's Orlando Cabrera ('03) and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins ('07).

  •  
     
    RUNNING:

    • Starlin has above average speed. He has enough to steal some bases, and is learning how.

      He times out at 4.0 or 4.1 seconds from home plate to first base.

    • As of the end of the 2013 season, Castro does NOT have a good stolen base success rate.
     
    CAREER INJURY REPORT:

    • March 2, 2014: Castro suffered a hamstring injury missing over a week of spring training. The Cubs were being careful with him, of course. By mid-March, he was still only running at "40 percent."
     
     
    Last Updated 4/20/2014. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.