Cubs Links: Starlin Castro, Matt Garza, and Kosuke Fukudome

Starlin's been hot. Let's hope he maintains it.
Boy! Who knew Tuesdays were so good? We've got a slew of good pieces to read for those Cubs fans inclined to ignoring the fact that James Russell is starting today.

First of all — and this one is actually a few days old, but worth revisiting — my colleague and friend, Steve Slowinski, did what I could not: He gave an unbiased look at the young Starlin Castro.

I've long worried Castro's minor league success has been a product of a high BABIP (i.e. good luck), not necessarily skill. Steve does a great job of cooling that fear:
Castro currently has a 24% line drive rate and a 53% ground ball rate. That’s a relatively high line drive rate, which goes to show how much solid contact Castro is making right now. I wouldn’t expect him to continue to post a .392 BABIP, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he ends the season with a BABIP in the .350 range.
Read the whole thing — it's quality stuff.

Also, Bill Petti looked at Matt Garza's odd season so far. He uses some beautiful and interactive charts to discuss Garza's peculiarities:
After all this I can't say I know what's causing Garza to appear so inconsistent. He's clearly getting guys to miss, but he's also allowing better contact in zones where he should be more dominant. Maybe this is just a function of the small sample (he's only thrown about 155 pitches so far this year and it's clear his BABIP will natural regress), but it's still pretty weird.
Lastly, Tim McGinnis of the ever-brilliant Obstructed View Blog presented Kosuke Fukudome his new calendar. Yesterday, Kosuke went 5-for-5, in turn cementing himself in the April Hall of Fame.

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  1. Pena is dangerously close to going 0-April in the HR department. What say you? He hit 3 ground balls last night and struck out. I'm officially worried.

  2. Yeah, I still believe he'll figure something out and start popping a few homers. But something like this really doesn't make me feel good: