4/12 Slowing the game down

Starlin Castro has the physical tools to be a star shortstop. Now, the Cubs are trying to develop the mental skills. On Friday, Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney did some early work with Cubs infield coach David Bell. The two middle infielders have yet to play in a regular season game because Barney is on the disabled list with a left knee laceration, but he’s expected back Tuesday. Castro made his third error on Thursday in nine games, which led to a Giants’ run. The Cubs now lead the Major Leagues with 10 errors.

“These errors aren’t because of physical ability,” Dale Sveum said of all the miscues, not just Castro’s. “It’s awareness and understanding the situation and who’s running. I think we’ve made half our errors on pure non-awareness of how much time we had to make a play or a throw.”

Physically, Castro has the talent. How do you improve the mental part of the game?

“That’s the million dollar question about slowing the game down,” Sveum said. “When we say ‘slow the game down,’ it doesn’t mean make the ball go slower or the pitch go slower. It’s how can you in your mind — before a ball is hit to you, before you step in the batter’s box — how you can go over the situations in your head before the ball is hit to you?

“Those are the things, whether you’re base running or hitting or fielding or pitching, how do you slow the game down in your mind and go over all the scenarios that can happen in your area,” Sveum said.

– Carrie Muskat

14 Comments

I thought that started in Little League.

He has all the physical tools. He lacks the mental tool that makes the others work better. Wishing and hoping for Castro is the same as wishing and hoping since 1908. Time to get real. He is an American League type player. Send him!

o great idea send our best player out bc he makes some mental mistakes as a 23 yr old…. ya what a great idea…… geez

I believe the mental aspect of good baseball is lacking in Latin American players. My experiences talking with minor leaguers and/or pros who coach my 2 sons tell me that the Latin American ballplayers have great skills because they have played the game all day every day since they were 3, but they were never taught how to PLAY the game. It’s all sandlot baseball to them. They are learning situational baseball at a ‘pro’ level. That may change over the years as more Academies are built in Latin American countries and they will not only receive an education but also top notch baseball instruction.

Why on earth anybody would want to send Castro to the AL is unbelievable. This KID is young, talented and capable of BECOMING BETTER. Besides, what better period of time other than the upcoming few seasons when the team is NOT expected to challenge for a World Series title to let this KID develop? To teach him? My gosh, the next season or two or three should just be considered an extended minor league stay for Castro. There is NO REASON not to give him time to IMPROVE.

Time will prove me right or wrong. We are good at waiting. Let’s wait.

Well with all due respect Jim McBride, your comment stated “Send him!” leaving one to believe you would have the club trade him PRESENTLY. So, waiting has nothing to do with if you are right or wrong because if IN TIME Castro’s defense remains abysmal THEN you will have quite a few people agreeing with you. However unless you meant “Send him!” in a few years or so I must say it would be a bad idea to give up on him PRESENTLY.

Joey,
You and I often agree. We shall agree to disagree at this point. Is he going to get smarter? Will he develop some maturity? Will he try harder? You would have to say yes. I do not. His value MAY never be greater. This is a terrible team with the exception of Darwin Barney. I hope I am wrong. I would trade him today.

actually his value may very well be on the incline… especially with the contract he just signed…. the KID is 23… he still has plenty of room/time to mature

and please don’t tell me you think Barney is the best player on this team…… right there shows your level of expertise on baseball and value

Good enough Jim, thanks for proving we commentators can respectfully and civilly have disagreements. Have a great weekend.

Barney hustles. He catches the ball. He has a gold glove. And since you don’t know me and I don’t know you petrey10; you estimation of my expertise is based on what you think of yours. I will stick with my statement about Barney. We are getting a real good effort out of the starter today. I am happy and seem to have awakened some of the good ol’ boys. Have a nice day gentlemen.

Joey,
You are still the best. Have a great weekend, my friend.

If Barney isn’t THE best Cub, he certainly is ONE of them! He is a SMART ball player. In fact in a post game interview Sveum was lamenting the fact that NONE of our right handed “hitters” have gone to right field as of yet, something the SMART Barney is very adept at doing. Hey Jim, Barney hasn’t crossed the chalk lines at all yet this season and he has as many HR’s & RBI as our juggernaut clean up hitter!!

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