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Rose, Castro, Beckham: The Young Faces Of Chicago Sports

On his ESPN blog today, Bulls beat writer Nick Friedell writes about the heads turning as Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose works out at the Team USA training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Much of the focus is on Rose’s age. At a mere 21 years old, Derrick Rose has two NBA seasons under his belt. Says fellow Team USA member and Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd:

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He’s 21, and he has all the tools to be a great point in this environment and also in the NBA so the future’s very bright for him.

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In his debut 2008-2009 season, Rose averaged 16.9 points per game. This past 2009-2010, Rose got even better, averaging 20.8 points per game. With Lebron off the table, all eyes are now on Derrick to take the next step.

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Yet subtract one from Derrick Rose’s age and substitute “MLB” for “NBA” and Kidd could very well be talking about Starlin Castro, the Chicago Cubs young shortstop. So far in his debut major league season, Castro has roughly 250 plate appearances and is hitting at an almost precisely league average level. (As of this writing, he has a .330 wOBA.) He’s also playing good, if occasionally erratic defense, at a premium position.

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That’s a pretty good start for a player so young. And with the Cubs clearly in sell (what you can) and wait (out the remaining long-term deals) mode, all eyes are also on young Starlin to progess just as Derrick Rose has.

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And on the South Side? Gordon Beckham, 23 years old, presents a cautionary tale. Struggling at the plate all season long and currently hitting well below league average, the second baseman reminds us that, while with youth comes promise, it also brings uncertainty.

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But make no mistake: In Rose, Castro and Beckham, we have three of the brightest young faces in Chicago sports.