Chicago Cubs players up for several regular season awards

5 of 7

Sep 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) hits a two RBI double during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Starlin Castro: Comeback Player of the Year

Starlin Castro has put together quite a turnaround this season. He went from getting benched in early August to hitting for one of the highest averages among Cubs hitters in August and September.

In the first half of the season, Castro slashed .247/.283/.321, all of which were well below his career batting splits. In the month of July, Castro’s hitting numbers dropped to a season low batting line of .170/.194/.202. In July, he had more strikeouts (21) than hits (16) in 98 plate appearances.

Castro’s fielding also suffered. At shortstop this season, he has committed 18 errors and has a fielding percentage of just 96.3 percent. In addition, in 31 games at second base, he committed six total errors and had a 94.7 percent fielding percentage.

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  • Eventually, Joe Maddon had seen enough and elected to bench the struggling infielder indefinitely on August 7 amidst a critical series with the San Francisco Giants. At the time, Maddon remained non-committal about how Castro would be utilized for the remainder of the season.

    Fast forward one month and Joe Maddon’s decision to bench Castro turned around his entire season. The entire situation was a wake-up call for Castro. He used the benching as motivation to improve. A large part of his turnaround was a swing adjustment. He focused on stepping straight towards the pitcher with his front foot rather than stepping off to the side. This allowed him to keep his head down towards the ball for a longer period of time and allowed him to reach pitches on the outside corner more efficiently.

    Since he was first benched, Castro has slashed .372/.388/.620. His hitting surge began in August where he slashed .296/.315/.437 but he has really picked it up in September where he has a .426 batting average and 20 RBIs since the start of the month.

    According to ESPN statistics, Starlin Castro has the second highest batting average on the Cubs in the month of September only trailing outfielder Chris Denorfia. In August, he had the third best monthly batting average on the team. With the playoffs fast approaching, the Chicago Cubs can’t afford to take Castro’s hot bat out of the lineup.

    Castro’s rebound spanned the last few months of the regular season. Perhaps it is too little too late. However, the degree to which his game elevated following his benching on August 7 definitely garners some consideration for this award. We will have to wait and see.

    Next: NL MVP