I came across a stat the other day that took me by surprise. Someone on Twitter was defending Starlin Castro, and made the point that he’s already amassed 1,000 hits before his 25th birthday. I thought to myself, “Surely, that can’t be true. Surely, Starlin Castro isn’t already one-third of the way to a milestone that all but guarantees one’s place in the Hall of Fame.” Turns out, it’s not entirely true, but this is:
Starlin Castro is only 24 and has 846 career hits. That’s the 18th-highest hit total in MLB history thru age 24, right behind Robby Alomar.
— August Fagerstrom (@AugustF_MLB) March 20, 2015
846 hits! Not bad, Starlin Castro. Especially considering it was around this time just a year ago when many were leaving Castro for dead after he put up one of the worst offensive seasons by a shortstop in recent history. In hindsight, that notion seems like quite the overreaction, given that Castro followed up the dreadful year with the best offensive season of his career and has re-cemented himself as the young, exciting Cubs shortstop of both the present and future.
But Castro’s case got me wondering: do we, as a community, take young talent for granted? Are we too quick to write off young players as one-hit wonders who burst onto the scene and then struggle — even if those struggles last for a full season or more? Seems to have been the case with Castro. Surely, I thought, there are others like him.
Naturally, my attention then turned to Bryce Harper.
August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.