Column: Opening Day takeaways

New York Yankees shortstop Starlin Castro (14) hits a two-run double off Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel during the second inning of an opening day baseball game in New York, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The term “Opening Day” has somewhat lost its meaning now that we are officially on day three of baseball, but the feeling surrounding the start of baseball season is something that will forever stay the same. We’ve seen plenty of action in these past three days, and there’s plenty more to look forward to as the season goes on. Here are two of my big takeaways from the first games of the 2016 season.

Post-Tulo era begins at Coors Field

In perhaps one of the more shocking results on Opening Day, the Colorado Rockies roughed up new Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. Rockies fans are still trying to erase the memories of how star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left Colorado, and the performance of his replacement (and no, not Jose Reyes) is sure to help.

Rookie shortstop Trevor Story had a debut to remember on Monday, as he took Greinke, the NL CY Young runner up, deep not once, but twice, in a 10-5 win. Story wasn’t even supposed to be in this position. The Rockies would’ve liked to leave the rookie cooking in the minors until he was ready, but with Reyes suspended, the front office had nowhere else to turn.

Story’s rapid rise is not completely unexpected either. He put up solid numbers in the minors last year, hitting .279 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI across AA and AAA-ball. Story will likely keep the starting shortstop job while Reyes is suspended indefinitely, so the real question is; who gets the job when Reyes returns? Major League Baseball has yet to rule on Reyes, but the Rockies have a potentially franchise-defining decision when he gets back.

Starlin Castro – Best upgrade in the league?

Starlin Castro made his Yankees debut on Tuesday, and in his very first at bat in pinstripes, ripped a two-run double down the left field line. Castro has already managed to do what no Yankee was able to last year: rough up Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. While Houston went on to win the game, Castro’s presence in the Yankees’ lineup is a massive improvement to last year’s roster.

Castro, who plays second base for the Yankees, is a direct replacement for Stephen Drew, who signed with the Nationals in the offseason. First and foremost, Castro is a much better hitter than Drew, who hit just .201 for New York last year. Castro hit .265 last year with 145 hits – a down year by his impressive standards. He also bats right-handed in a lineup that was dominated by lefties last season. While the Yankees have good switch-hitters, they struggled hitting left-handed pitchers last year, particularly Keuchel, who had a 0.90 ERA in his starts against the Yankees, including the crucial 3-0 Wild Card win.

As the season plays out, we’ll see how Castro adjusts to life on the Yankees and in New York in general, but for now, he sure looks like a steal for the Bronx Bombers.


Pete Harasyko is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at peter.harasyko@uconn.edu.