While Starlin Castro has already achieved a career-high in home runs, the real question is whether or not he can marry his new approach at the plate with a power stroke.
Castro hit his 14th home run of the season Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies, crushing a ball into the seats in center at Coors Field. But he has just four home runs since Aug. 1 as he tries to adapt to a more patient approach at the plate.
Castro doesn’t project to have huge power, but as he gets older and fills out, 20-plus home run seasons could be in his future.
What remains to be seen is how long it takes for him to consistently drive balls when he is deep into counts instead of slashing at pitches.
Even when Castro was a more aggressive hitter earlier in the season, his power was spotty. He didn’t hit a home run in April, but hit four in May. He then hit one more home run before hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was fired June 12.
Castro struggled to find his way after that hitting just one more home run until July 8, while his batting average began to plummet.
In July, Castro began to send mixed signals. He batted just .235, but matched a season high with four home runs that month. August opened with another home run, but a West Coast swing when he went 1-for-22 started the power drain again.
Of his last five home runs, four have come at Wrigley Field and now one at Coors Field, meaning he has delivered them only in power-friendly parks.
The positive is that the power numbers climbed again from three home runs in 2010 to 10 home runs in 2011 and the 14 he has hit this season with a little over a week remaining.
Assuming he settles on one approach for the length of the 2013 season, the power totals could go up from there.