Over the last two-plus years, Starlin Castro has become the most polarizing player on the Cubs.
Nobody's daily performance is dissected under a microscope as much as Castro's.
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But the 24-year-old is off to a very good start in 2014 — hitting .342 with an .885 OPS entering play Friday — and CSN's David Kaplan took to Twitter to help ease the criticism on the Cubs' franchise shortstop:
How about this stat: Starlin Castro at age 24 yrs/17 days 705 hits. Pete Rose at exact same age had 331 hits. #relaxtheguyisyoungandtalented— David Kaplan (@thekapman) April 11, 2014
That's not to say Castro is as good a hitter as Rose ever was, but it's an interesting comparison — the lightning-rod shortstop is ahead of Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader (Rose finished with 4,256).
Of course, it's not the beginning of Rose's career that made the back of his baseball card so awe-inspiring. Rose played until after his 45th birthday and ended his career as MLB's leader in games played (3,562), plate appearances (15,890) and at-bats (14,053). During his age-40 season in 1981, Rose had a .325 average and led the league with 140 hits.
Let's see where Castro stands if he's still playing at age 38 or 39.
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By another comparison, Derek Jeter had 588 hits through his age-24 season. Castro will go to sleep Friday with 152 games still remaining his age-24 season.
There is still plenty to be decided in Castro's career, but no matter what way you slice it, it's a heck of a start for the Cubs' young shortstop.