On Tuesday night, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro injured his left ankle while sliding on a play at the plate. After an MRI on Wednesday, it was determined that Castro had suffered a high ankle sprain.
With the Cubs out of contention this season, general manager Jed Hoyer said that the team will likely shut down their young shortstop for the final month of the season. Clearly this injury is a bummer for Castro who has bounced back very nicely this season hitting .292/.339/.438 with 14 homeruns and 33 doubles.
Castro cemented himself as a major piece of the Cubs' rebuild this season, and will take the off-season to rest his injured ankle. He should be fully recovered and ready to go by Spring Training. While it certainly is not ideal that Castro will miss the rest of the season, it will allow the Cubs to get a look at other players who will be fighting for a job with the team next season.
With Castro out, Javier Baez will now slide over from second base and take over the shortstop duties. 25-year-old utility player Logan Watkins seems to be the guy to get the bulk of the starts at second base the rest of the way.
Watkins got the call to the big leagues late last month, and has made the most of his opportunity thus far. While cautioning small sample size is certainly in effect here, through 25 at-bats, Watkins is hitting .400 with an OPS .960 coming in to the game on Wednesday evening. At the time this article was being written, Watkins is 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI as the Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers. He is playing very well and making his mark on the organization.
While his natural position is second base, Watkins has incredible defensive versatility. He has played a fair amount of shortstop throughout his minor league career, has filled in at third base at times and played a lot of outfield. Watkins can not only play all infield and outfield positions, he plays them very well.
With the likes of Castro, Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara and Kris Bryant making up an incredibly talented young core for the Cubs in the immediate future, starting offensive positions will be limited. That being said, a player with defensive versatility and a solid approach at the plate would be a welcomed addition to any team in a bench role. If Watkins continues filling in admirably for Castro for the rest of the season, it will go a long ways towards giving him a future role in the big leagues.