Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cleanup Castro

While the world debates whether or not Castro should have been bunting last night (and he shouldn't have been), I've started debating with myself (yes, I do that a lot) whether or not Castro should be hitting 3rd at all.

As Dale Sveum clearly said today, Castro is not the prototypical #3 hitter in a lineup.  I think the Cubs are hoping he might evolve into that type of power hitter...but right now, he's a singles and doubles hitter.  He's a very good singles and doubles hitter...but still a singles and doubles hitter.

The Cubs have one player that is even remotely close to being a power hitter and that is future home run champion and hall-of-famer, Byran LaHair.

LaHair is the critical cog in the Cubs offense at the moment.  We all know that he probably isn't going to continue to hit at this pace, but it would probably be in the Cubs best interest to do everything in their power to keep this hot streak going as long as possible.

One of the ways to do that is to get someone to hit behind LaHair.  We've seen in the last week or so, teams have started to pitch around LaHair a bit more and he's getting fewer good pitches to hit.  Any team that looks at the Cubs lineup would be foolish not to pitch LaHair carefully right now.  Soriano, Stewart, Soto and Barney are a disaster a the back of the lineup.

So to continue to give LaHair his best chance at success, I'm proposing that he move to the #3 spot in the order and Castro cleanup.

I don't see LaHair as a long term player for the Cubs and as a result, if the Cubs think similarly, they will probably be looking to trade him in the future.  Having LaHair's value as high as it possibly can will benefit the Cubs in the number & level of prospects they are able to get for the guy when his time up over in Chicago.

What does that do for Castro?  A couple of things: He is still in a power position part of the lineup (again, a role the Cubs want him to move into), and he will have little protection behind him, meaning he will need to continue to grow as a hitter and learn to lay off pitches.

This perhaps is a foolish move looking at the grand scheme...but LaHair and Castro are easily the two best hitters on the team and swapping them isn't really that radical of a move.  Remember that the Cubs put singles/doubles specialist Mark Grace at cleanup quite a bit during the 90's and that led to a decade of great success for the team....oh....wait.

So am I insane to think that this is a good idea?