The more impressive 200: Castro or Dempster?

The following guest post was submitted by Ryan Maloney, from the Cubs MLBlog Prose and Ivy. (Photos by Stephen Green)

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: If Ryan Dempster joins Starlin Castro in reaching a personal “200” milestone this week, which accomplishment are you more impressed by: Dempster’s four straight seasons of 200+ innings, or Castro hitting the 200-hit mark at a younger age than any player in the history of the franchise?

Starlin Castro reached his statistical mountain top on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals when he became the Cubs’ youngest player ever to reach 200 hits in a season. Ryan Dempster is chasing the 200-inning mark for the fourth straight season, needing just 3.1 innings pitched in his last remaining start, at San Diego.

So let’s consider what each achievement says about the two players.

Dempster reached the 200-inning plateau in 2008 (206.2), 2009 (200.0), 2010 (215.1) and three other times earlier in his career with the Florida Marlins—in 2000 (226.1), 2001 (211.1) and 2002 (209.0). The last Cubs starter to reach this milestone was Steve Trachsel (each season from 1996-99). With the way injuries and pitch counts limit even the best pitchers in the game today, reaching the 200-inning mark for a starting pitcher is proof of reliability, stamina and consistency.

Castro’s 200th hit last Friday was certainly a memorable one, as he roped the second pitch he saw from Chris Carpenter into the outfield for a single. On top of setting a franchise mark as youngest player to 200 hits, it has put him in an elite group of only four other major leaguers to reach 200 hits in one season at age 21 or younger. Castro currently sits at 203 hits on the season, with the franchise record for a right-handed hitter being set by Rogers Hornsby‘s 229 hits in 1929.

Fans can dream big with Castro. His 342 hits over his first two seasons ranks tops among the Cubs’ all-time roster, recently passing Glenn Beckert‘s 335 from 1965-66.

Their accomplishments have put a bright spot on a rough season in Chicago. Dempster’s mark will further solidify his place as a reliable, innings-eating workhorse, while Castro’s accomplishment will continue to propel the already lofty expectations for the young shortstop to new heights.

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