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Prospect Report: Does Cubs’ Starlin Castro Have Fantasy Value in 2010?

Image courtesy of: Amanda Rykoff  (The OCD Chick)

Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry called up highly-touted prospect Starlin Castro Friday morning, a move that’s been widely speculated for the past week.

The 20-year-old Castro was hitting .376/.421/.569 with 14 extra-base hits, 20 runs, 20 RBI and four steals in 26 games at Double-A Tennessee this season. In 127 games last year between High-A and Double-A, Castro hit .299/.342/.392 with 32 extra-base hits and 28 stolen bases.

The Cubs view Castro as an elite shortstop prospect, as the 2006 signee from the Dominican Republic “has drawn comparisons to Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada – and even Derek Jeter” according to Baseball America.

Castro makes adjustments at the plate, and doesn’t struggle against breaking pitches like most young hitters. BA notes his ability to “consistently put the barrel of the bat on the ball,” adding that scouts believe his gap power will develop as his young body physically matures.

Though he doesn’t take many walks, Castro works deep into counts and is a very good contact hitter. His plus speed makes him a threat on the base paths, adding to his value in fantasy leagues.

Castro’s presence in the Cubs lineup will likely bump Ryan Theriot to second base, effectively diminishing any fantasy value Jeff Baker or Mike Fontenot had. The young phenom is expected to play every day at shortstop, though his spot in the order is not yet known. Chicago may slot him in the seven or eight hole to start, and move him up near the top as he gets comfortable.

Despite the hype surrounding Castro, expectations should be kept in check. Braves’ outfielder Jason Heyward is the rare exception, not the rule. 20-year-olds normally shouldn’t be counted on as fantasy options, but Castro’s speed should give him value in 14-team leagues.

He’s a must add in dynasty and keeper formats, as young Starlin Castro has all the tools necessary to become the Cubs’ first all-star shortstop since Shawon Dunston 20 years ago.

FBI Forecast: 400 at-bats, 60 runs, five HRs, 45 RBI, 20 stolen bases, .260 batting average

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