Thursday, August 5, 2010

Youth movement leads to a fun day at Wrigley

The Cubs have hit 24 home runs since the All-Star break, tied for most in the NL.
(Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune)

I can't resist the temptation to write about the Cubs after a rare win, and a blowout one at that. The Cubs dished out a tiny bit of revenge yesterday, scoring 14 runs in a three-inning span and slamming three three-run homers en route to a 15-3 win that gave the Brewers a small taste of their own medicine after their 18-1 shellacking of the Cubs on Monday. The Cubs still, you know, suck, and they remain in fifth place in the division, but nevertheless: Take that, Brewers!

Though both Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro remain just shy of the necessary number of plate appearances to qualify for things such as the race for the batting title, here are some interesting stats put up by the Cubs' youngsters:
  • Colvin leads all rookies with 17 home runs.
  • Among rookies with at least 200 at-bats, Castro has the second-highest average (.318), behind only Buster Posey.
  • Castro's average would rank him third in the NL if he qualified.
  • Castro's OPS (.823) is third-highest among rookies.
  • Castro has five triples, the most for a Cub since Juan Pierre had 13 in 2006.
You can never really assume anything in sports; just because Colvin and Castro have displayed impressive potential does not mean they're guaranteed to improve every year and serve as the team's offensive backbone for years to come. But isn't it nice to see a couple of rookies actually showing their stuff rather than being forced to rely on scouts in order to have hope for the future?

There was another youngster who continued to impress yesterday as well: Geovany Soto. His poor 2009 season was an example of that last point--even being the Rookie of the Year doesn't guarantee consistent success. But here in 2010, Soto is proving that 2008 wasn't an illusion: among NL catchers, he is first in home runs, slugging and OPS, second in OBP and third in RBI. Not too shabby.

The average age of Soto, Castro and Colvin? Twenty-four.

Oh, Blake DeWitt hit a home run yesterday as well--he too is 24.

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