AFL News & Notes

chicago-cubs-starlin-castro-2Every season, players burst onto the scene during the Arizona Fall League and establish themselves as elite prospects.  This season is no different, as Cubs’ prospect Starlin Castro has come from relative obscurity to become an elite prospect during the AFL.  Discussing Castro, a 20-year old Shortstop, ESPN’s Keith Law said:

Starlin Castro is a future star. He won’t turn 20 until March but was one of the best and most impressive hitters I saw in Arizona. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and can keep his hands inside the ball even when pitchers try to work him inside. His swing can get long on balls away, and he wraps his bat, but he makes a ton of contact and squares up on a lot of pitches out of the zone. He showed he can stay with sliders from right-handers — this is good, because I saw way too many guys last week who could hit fastballs but not same-side breaking balls — and showed signs of future power even to the opposite field. At shortstop, he has good lateral range, especially to his right, and a 65-70 arm on the 20-80 scale. There’s still a significant amount of projection here; he slugged .392 (.093 isolated power percentage) this year between high Class A and Double-A. He is, though, one of the best shortstops in the minors. (I heard a few comparisons of Castro to Alfonso Soriano, and although there’s some physical resemblance, Soriano has a longer swing and always has been a bit of a hacker, while Castro has better bat control and ability to adjust to changing speeds.) 

Impressive praise considering Castro began the season not ranked in his own organization’s Top 10 prospects.  Castro was impressive this season, advancing to AA before age 20 while going unnoticed by most publications.  Look for him to arrive in the major leagues sometime next season, and when he arrives, he is worth grabbing in keeper leagues.

Other AFL News…

Casey Kelly is on the verge of a tough decision.

Dustin Ackley sees his first action.

Jonathan Lucroy and Michael Saunders both are having a hot start.

There were some injuries to big time prospects but nothing to be concerned about.  Mike Stanton, and Jason Heyward suffered injuries and have left the AFL.