At least he’s not Pete Kozma

Starlin Castro has been ripped pretty hard lately, and it's understandable, as a Cubs fan, why we'd be so angry. Castro was a very good player (never great) when he broke into the league, and stayed that way for a few years. Last year, he took a step back, but signs were good that Castro could be a productive player for the next 15 years. 

That's still possible, but not as likely as it once was. Castro has been horrid this year, both defensively and offensively. He's actually worth -0.7 bWAR at the moment, and it'd be hard to argue that number is wrong. We've been documenting why this might be in our comments sections, but suffice it to say there are a multitude of reasons both on and off the diamond as to why it might be the case. Whatever the reason, it's certain that Starlin Castro has been awful this year.

But at least he's not Pete Kozma

Good ole' Pete has been worth a whole win, theoretically, on glove alone. Perhaps he's great defensively (I haven't seen it in my admittedly limited watchings of Cardinals games), and with a line like his, he needs to be. Kozma is the "proud" owner of a .221/.271/.279 slash this year. .221/.271/.279! That's incredible! Only 19 people since integration have qualified for a batting title with an OBP and SLG under .280 (Hal Lanier did this three times). And with the exception of Mark Belanger, every single one of those players struck out less often than Pete. 

It wasn't always like this. In 2012, Kozma hit the cover of the ball in limited time, mashing .333/.383/.569. He was awesome in the NLDS, too. It fell apart for him in the Conference Championship, but he'd made a name for himself and was the starting SS for the Cardinals this year. Since then he's had 1 HR (hit on the second game of the season) and 18 (1 this month) 2B. That one win he was worth defensively? Well, he's worth -1 win with the stick. If you look back since 2008, only Cezar Izturis has had a lower OPS than Kozma (.550 to .545). This month, he's hit .081/.171/.108

When you really look at shortstops this year, Castro's situation isn't quite as terrible as you might think. Kozma has had a worse year, as has Alcides Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Zack Cosart. I'm not about to say that you should feel good at the expense of others (though that's usually fun), I'm just saying that it could be worse!

Starlin may have already had 2450 PA to show us what he is, but he's still 23 years old. He's younger than Anthony Rizzo, who Julie has pointed out isn't facing nearly as much pressure. If Starlin and Sveum aren't on the same page, that's on Sveum. It's his job to manage the players on his team, and get the best from them. For whatever reason, that just hasn't happened with Starlin, and he's in the worse slump of his whole life. 

But at least he's not Pete Kozma.

 

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