Re 1: I agree, but it’s sort of surprising teams actually bring up such young players in the environment of 6-years of cheap team control. If you’re going to only get bargain rates on a player for six years and can control when those years start, don’t you want those years to include a player’s prime rather than having them end just when their primes are getting under way? E.g., imagine what an asset the Twins would have if this was Delmon Young’s first MLB year.
Castro was pretty much thrown out there in the comments as soon as the trade value article was posted.
Castro just went 10-20 in a 4-game set against the Giants. In his last 10 games, he’s hitting .422 (19-45) with a BB and 5 K. He has a .366 OBP and .450 SLG. His next hit will be his 100th as a major-leaguer. He’s hitting 30 points *higher* against righties than lefties, and he’s hitting .407 in the last 30 days. At home, his XBH cluster between the power alleys, weighing somewhat toward left field. At the same time, most of his air outs at Wrigley are going to right-center.
As to the question of bringing kids up early and having to deal with club control/arbitration earlier, well, winning is more important. If the Cubs and Braves believe that giving Castro and Heyward these reps in MLB (rather than at Iowa or Gwinnett) will improve the team’s chances of success now or in the near future, by all means bring them up.
Castro will be 25 still when club control expires (March birthday). The means the Cubs can offer him a post-club control 7-year deal for the kind of money a cornerstone player wants, and still be out from under it when Castro is finishing his age 32 year. And since he’ll be signing at 25, he likely won’t have yet put up his peak potential numbers, which would in turn drive up his market value.
I’m obviously more familiar with Starlin than Heyward, being in Chicago, but I’d assume that the generally intelligent Braves front office see Heyward in a similar fashion. Although I must say, Heyward’s numbers are amusing to me because he has Pujols’ patience but Jacque Jones’ contact results (LD/GB/FB). It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before he consistently drives the ball on a line and in the air.
Compare their situations to the situation of the rookie home run leader, Tyler Colvin. He’ll be 25 in 3 weeks: the Cubs have club control through his age 30 season. They won’t pay him much during his prime years, but if he becomes an everyday outfielder (or first baseman), then an extension to an already late-prime player is that much more of a gamble.
And a last thought: as a Cubs fan, I have become pretty touchy about ascribing star status to pitchers in their rookie seasons. Strasburg has already been on the DL with soreness. Having lived through Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game…and Tommy John surgery, and then Mark Prior’s 7.6 WAR 2003…and his new deal with the same league featuring 18-year-old female sidearming knuckleballer Eri Yoshida. It’s a nightmare scenario for both the Nationals and the guy who paid $17,000 for a baseball card at auction recently. But with pitchers, you never know.
He also said, “When all is said and done, I would be willing to bet that the rookie class of 2010 will go down as the best in the history of the game.” Which is fair to say, but the odds would be strongly, strongly against it knowing what we know about how variable things like that are and how good we know classes like the 1986 class were.