Cub fans, Commence the Starlin Castro Bandwagon!

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By Paul M. Banks

(update: Cubs super-prospect Starlin Castro goes yard in his first at bat!)

The Chicago Cubs today called up Starlin Castro from Double-A Tennessee after infielder Chad Tracy was jettisoned to Triple-A Iowa.

Castro, the first ever Cub born in the 1990s (don’t you feel old now) wears uniform number 13 and hit a three-run homer in his first ever at bat. The 20 year old is rated the number one prospect in the Cubs’ system by Baseball America.

At 20 years and 44 days old today, Castro will become the youngest Cub to make his major league debut since Oscar Gamble on August 27, 1969 at the age of 19 years, 250 days.  In addition, Castro will be the youngest to make his debut with the Cubs as a shortstop, surpassing Marty Shay at 20 years, 144 days on September 16, 1916.  Since 1920, only 18 players have made their major league debut as a Cub at a younger age than Castro.

A native of Monte Cristy in the Dominican Republic, Castro began this season ranked as the organization’s number one prospect by Baseball America and joins the Cubs after batting .376 (41-for-109) with eight doubles, five triples, one home run, 20 runs scored, 20 RBI and a .421 on-base percentage in 26 games with Tennessee.

Castro was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on October 25, 2006 by scout Jose Serra and has reached the big leagues after 264 minor league contests.  The right-handed batter and thrower is a career .310 minor league hitter (308-for-995) with 48 doubles, 18 triples, nine home runs and 122 RBI in four minor league seasons with the organization’s rookie-level club in the Dominican (2007), rookie-level Mesa (2008), Single-A Daytona (2009) and Tennessee (2009 and 2010).

The six-foot, 190-pound Castro batted .429 (15-for-35) with three doubles, two triples, one home run and five RBI in 16 major league spring training games with the Cubs in 2010.  Additionally, he hit .376 (38-for-101) with five doubles, one triple and one home run in 26 games in the Arizona Fall League last year.  In 2009, Castro was named the Most Valuable Player of the Florida State League All-Star Game after going 4-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run.  He also participated in the 2009 Futures Game as a member of the World Team.

Tracy was a member of the Cubs opening day roster and is batting .273 (6-for-22) in 19 games with the club this season.

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