Cubs fans have been scratching their heads for three years wondering what the problem is with Starlin Castro. Some have said he was brought up too quickly and didn’t have enough time to learn some shortstop fundamentals. Others disagree saying he’s just not paying attention. He sometimes even looks like he’s not even interested in what he’s doing. Fans watch as he looks around the field, seeming to not really be interested in the game.
Some of these behaviors, such as seeming to be disinterested, not paying attention, even making careless mistakes, are signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD. If this is true, Castro wouldn’t be the first Cubs player to suffer from this disorder. Former Cubs pitcher Scott Eyre suffered from this condition, but once he was diagnosed it changed his life, and his pitching abilities.
Castro’s problems are not only in field but also at the plate. He was moved from the number two slot to number eight prior to the Nationals visit in August and then moved to the leadoff spot when that experiment didn't work. But a “brain cramp” or some other issue caused Castro to forget about a runner on third in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in mid-August that caused Cubs Manager Dale Sveum to bench the shortstop The Cards ended up winning that game, but the outcome could have been different if Castro hadn’t forgotten about that one base runner.
To the dismay of most fans, Castro was back in the lineup the next day. According to Sveum, Castro had been “punished enough.” But maybe it’s not punishment that the shortstop needs but testing for ADHD.
“Starlin is a young talented kid, emphasis on kid. When he's good, he's really good, and then he seems to forget where he is, what's going on and what he is supposed to do. My first thought is it could be a medical condition that has gone undiagnosed,” said season ticket holder Mark Andersen.
Both Sveum and General Manager Jed Hoyer have said they think too much emphasis has been put on Castro’s mistakes, with Hoyer saying Castro appears to be having a down year. He pointed to Castro’s rookie season in 2010 when he hit .300 and his .307 average in 2011.However, this year alone he has committed 18 errors and has averaged around .240 at the plate. He committed the most errors in 2011, with 29.
It’s very possible that there is a real medical reason Castro seems disengaged and distracted during games. Perhaps in the off season the Cubs will have him tested for ADHD. If that is ruled out then there should be no excuses for his sloppy play.