First Star – Starlin Castro (.364 WPA)
Second Star – Brandon Ryan (.264 WPA)
Third Star – Carlos Marmol (.166 WPA)

Recently, a lifelong friend and fellow fan told me there are exactly two reasons to watch the Cubs these days: Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro. Saturday’s contest was a perfect example. The new Daily Double went 4-7 with two homers and four runs scored in a hard-fought 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Now I’m no scout, but I’ve been on the Starlin Castro bandwagon from day one. However, Tyler Colvin is another story.

Colvin was a curious pick at number 13 overall in the 2006 draft. The so-called experts were basically united in classifying the selection as “a reach.” His unique combination of skills was intriguing, but a lack of plate discipline raised many eyebrows. I have a clear memory of my reaction at the time: “He sounds like another Brant Brown or Todd Hollandsworth.”

His minor league performance did little to change my mind (1,716 at bats, 56 home runs, .277/.320/.465). Had the Cubs botched another first-round pick? Well, we’re 89 games into his rookie season, and so far Colvin is making me look foolish (not the first time, and it won’t be the last). He’s already hitting for more power than I would have predicted, and he’s showing a mature approach that is truly encouraging. Perhaps the Cubs brain trust pulled the right rabbit out of their hat.

As the mess that is 2010 winds down, I look forward to watching more of Mr. Colvin (just not in the leadoff spot). If he and Castro continue to develop, and if management can make a few key moves before the trade deadline, we may have a lot to look forward to in 2011. Of course, I’ve fallen into the trap of optimism too many times before. Can you say Mike Harkey?

Danny’s Notes

Len remarks before the game that Castro and Colvin are tied for the team lead w/ 6 game winning RBI’s. Also hats off to Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, and Geo Soto for their recent play.

A very special congratulations to Andre Dawson, who will enter the Hall of Fame tomorrow. The Hawk was a phenomenal athlete and Wrigley was very lucky and grateful to have him. Hats off to him as well, literally. He gave the Cubs a blank check in 87, they should give him the logo in return on his plaque. No matter which team, though, Dawson had a very honorable career.

Question (Trivia): Ryne Sandberg has 9 gold gloves- second all time among NL second basemen. Do you know who’s first in NL gold gloves with 10?

Question (Rhetorical): If Ryno takes the helm as manager any time soon, could you imagine what he would do with Castro’s raw defensive talent? Speaking of which, should Castro move to second? He has great range and a strong arm; it would be a shame to shorten that.

  • Tyler Colvin kicks off the bottom of the first with his second straight leadoff home run. No big deal.
  • Starlin Castro baby! Love the defense, love the base running, and he had a clean cut slide to the plate that leveled Boggs. Castro is responsible for the last 4 runs of this game.

-6th inning…

Len (to Bob): “Did you ever take a bouncer into the face?”

-8th inning…

Ryne Sandberg, we miss you…phew. Redemption on the double play and the Cubs are holding on.

And Marmol shuts it down again (Save #18), adding 2 more K’s to his stack of 85, which obviously leads all NL relievers (and over 10 assorted starting pitchers as well- in only 46 innings!). The Cubs win the series, against a team in their division might I add. Fans, play the lottery tonight.

The Three C’s:

Colvin- 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 1 Go ahead run. He is now the current leader in HR among rookies (15), unless Ike Davis goes yard a couple hours from now.

Castro- 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR- 2 Go ahead RBI’s on his first career Wrigley Field  dinger. One of Castro’s runs was on a wild pitch, which forced a throwing error for the catcher and allowing Ramirez to score on what turned out to be the game winning run on the same play.

Cashner- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 100 mph fastballs

Tom Gorzelanny followed Randy Wells’ good performance with a respectable line of his own: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 W, 3 K, W (6-5)

Byrd is fantastic in center field. He gets great jumps and makes tough plays look easy. I wouldn’t mind having this guy around for his entire contract, if not just what he could offer to Tyler Colvin in terms of playing the outfield. Byrd is a true professional; it has taken him no time at all to win the respect of many Cubs fans. I haven’t seen a Cub hit to all fields and play with such a veteran presence since Mark DeRosa.

More praise for the lineup- Ryan Theriot is a good fit batting eighth. He can rack up singles, setting up sacrifice opportunities for the pitcher and potential RBI’s for the top of the order. He still needs to improve his base running, however.

Answer: Robbie “Spit in yo face” Alomar

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