Starlin Castro: The Making of an MLB All-Star

The MLB All-Star game is at 8pm EST tonight on FOX and it’s time to celebrate Starlin Castro’s successful first half of the 2011 season and election by the fans as a member of the National League All-Star team.

Castro is the youngest Cubs player to ever represent the team in the summer classic. Not since Shawon Dunston has a shortstop represented the Cubs in the All-Star game and tonight, once Tulo is finally yanked from the game, Cubs fans will once again have a talented shortstop of their own on the field among the league’s best.

As far as I’m concerned, Tulo should not have even been in the running to start for the National League. The only two players that should have received votes to start for the NL team were Castro and Reyes. Reyes is having an unbelievable year and Castro is among the league leaders in many offensive categories. Reyes is blazing a comeback trail as one of the more exciting players to watch in the game and Castro is arguably THE most exciting young player in all of baseball. Tulo is a talented player, but is not having the season Reyes or Castro are having.

I’m excited for Castro and will be watching this evening waiting patiently for Bochy to pull the Tool and put in ‘All-Starlin’. There are so many MLB fans across the world that are hardly familiar with Castro, aside from the random highlight on MLB or ESPN, or his SI cover shot. It’s exciting they will finally get a chance to see what we as Cubs fans are treated to on a daily basis.

Dunston had an incredible arm and if he were playing today, I’m sure we’d find him on MANY web-gem segments on SportsCenter. Castro has the same potential to be lethal in the field as he is still young and working out defensive kinks. His offensive skills are improving all the time and I’m happy to hear he is aiming high. He was quoted as saying he’d like to be a hall of fame player. Good. He should feel that way and aim that high. Otherwise, why bother playing the game. It’s impressive to see a young player step up as a leader on the team as well. It takes a very special player to be able to stand out among the veterans and earn their respect based on the way you carry yourself on and off the field, day in and day out.

Castro blasted on to the MLB scene last year with a six RBI performance including an MLB debut 3-run home run in his first at-bat. He didn’t even play AAA ball, being called up from AA ball. This season he has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, voted into the All-Star game and once again is competing for the NL batting title (currently in ninth place in the NL for AVG).

The sky is the limit for Castro. This will more than likely be the first of many trips to the All-Star stage. Let’s hope his enthusiasm, work ethic and outlook on the game don’t change. I don’t want to see a day where we hear Starlin Castro has decided to turn down an offer to play in the All-Star game. Especially considering the fact that he’ll probably be voted in by the fans year in and year out, not just simply as an NL manager selection. Ramirez turned down the opportunity this year, however I understand putting family first especially after hearing the offer so last minute.

I don’t foresee Castro being in that position for a long time. After MLB fans get a look at Castro on the grand stage, I’m sure many will submit their votes for him in the future and Reyes, Tulo and all other NL shortstops will be waiting to find out if it will be their number that is called to sub in for Castro, not the other way around. I hope Castro puts on a true display of his abilities tonight. I expect nothing less.

Congratulations on your first trip to the MLB All-Star game, Starlin. A great step in the right direction as we could very well be watching a hall of fame caliber career and plaque worthy player in the making.

Go Cubs Go!