The young Starlin Castro

Twenty-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro is providing hope amid the Chicago Cubs’ disheartening 2010 season. While the Cubs play out the rest of Lou Piniella‘s last, increasingly lethargic season, Castro continues to live up to his hype after entering the season as the Cubs’ top prospect. He dazzled in his debut by driving in six runs, and while that act has been hard to follow, he has still hit for a solid average since May. He’s been so solid, in fact, that he got a shout-out from Tim McCarver during the Fox telecast of the Cubs-Cardinals game on Saturday.

McCarver pointed out that Castro is closing in on enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, noting that his current average would put him in the top five in the National League, and if he finishes 2010 strong he could be the youngest player to win the batting title in either league.

While Castro’s .362 BABIP is helping to boost his nice average, he’s hit line drives at a 20 percent clip, which may suggest he can continue to be the kind of player who can hit north of .300. That would be helpful since he didn’t hit many home runs in the minors. Still, it’s not a completely empty average since he hits quite a few doubles, and his youth leaves open the possibility for developing power. That possibility is one of the few things Cubs fans may be able to take away from another lousy season.

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