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It might not look like it right now with Don Kelly and Matt Tuiasosopo penciled in to be the reserve outfielders, but the Tigers have some outfield depth with two very good prospects close to making an impact in the big leagues.
Essentially, they could have three solid options for the left field job in the second half of the season. Opening Day starter Andy Dirks, who had an .857 OPS in 88 games last season, could have prospects Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia (pictured) pushing him for playing time.
Garcia, who will start the season on the disabled list with a heel contusion, already made his presence felt in the majors when he went 5-for-11 with three runs batted in against the Yankees during last year’s ALCS.
At the least, he could be a great addition as the left-handed Dirks’ platoon partner down the stretch. The 21-year-old has solid tools all around and should settle in as a major league regular in the next season or two.
Also just 21, Castellanos is the Tigers’ top prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus. A converted third baseman, his path to the majors became clearer with a move to left field.
He struggled after a midseason promotion to Double-A last season, but most think he’ll make the adjustment and close in on the majors soon enough.
After he went 9-for-25 with six walks this spring, he left a good impression on the Tigers’ brass. They probably wouldn’t hesitate to bring him up to the majors in the second half of the season if they feel he can make an impact. That could make Dirks or Garcia expendable.
On the other hand, they could use Castellanos as a big trade chip to add reinforcements for the stretch run.