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September 3, 2013

The Call-Up

Nick Castellanos

by Mark Anderson and Bret Sayre


The Situation: After winning the first two games of a three-game set against the Indians this weekend, the Tigers appear to be pulling away in the AL Central. The expanding division lead opens an opportunity for the club to play top prospect Nick Castellanos in September.

Background: A supplemental pick in 2010, the Tigers ponied up and signed Castellanos with a $3.45 million signing bonus. At 19 years old, Castellanos had little trouble with the Midwest League in 2011 with a .312/.367/.436 line backboned by 36 doubles. He had even less trouble with the High-A Florida State League the following year, hitting .405 in 55 games before being promoted to Double-A. Castellanos struggled with the transition to Double-A, hitting just .264 with 76 strikeouts in 79 games. His struggles continued in 2013 as he hit just .259 in April until a strong May and scorching June. For the season Castellanos has a .276 average with 37 doubles, 18 home runs, 54 walks and 100 strikeouts in 134 games for Triple-A Toledo.

Scouting Report: Castellanos is the very definition of a bat-first prospect, excelling in every facet of his offensive game while struggling with the glove. He has quiet hands and a balanced setup in the box with tremendous strength. Castellanos has exceptional bat speed, allowing him to let the ball travel deep and make late decisions about his ability to drive a particular pitch. He has uncanny hand-eye coordination and displays outstanding coverage, reaching pitches in and out of the strike zone and driving them to all fields. He has tightened his zone of attack in 2013 and displayed an improved approach that has resulted in even more hard contact. Castellanos is a line-drive hitter who uses the whole field. The ball explodes off his bat with that clichéd “different sound.” He has the ability to drive the ball out of the park, particularly to right-center, and he is beginning to learn to turn on the ball more consistently. At his offensive peak, Castellanos could be a .290 hitter with 20 home runs and 35 doubles.

In the field, Castellanos is a near polar opposite of his offensive profile. At his best, he is adequate in left field and more frequently he rates as a poor defender. Having moved to left field just over a year ago, Castellanos consistently gets poor reads off the bat and his initial reaction is often just as poor. His routes still need considerable work and most scouts are skeptical of his ability to become anything better than a fringe-average defender. He has raw arm strength but is still adjusting to the throwing mechanics required in the outfield; his arm strength doesn’t always show up in game action. A former third baseman, Castellanos was making slow progress toward passable defense at the hot corner prior to his move to the outfield, but a return to the infield is extremely unlikely.

Castellanos is one of the game’s most promising offensive prospects. He has demonstrated the potential to hit for average and power and as he adjusts to major-league pitchers he should hit more than enough to overcome any defensive issues that remain.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Billy Ham... (09/03)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Billy Ham... (09/03)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Michael C... (09/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Michael C... (09/03)

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