Detroit Tigers: How Top Prospect Nick Castellanos Affects the Lineup

Freddy WanderContributor IIIDecember 20, 2011

Can Nick Castellanos become the answer for the Tigers at third base?
Can Nick Castellanos become the answer for the Tigers at third base?

With their first pick in the 2010 amateur draft, the Detroit Tigers decided to select Nick Castellanos out of Archbishop McCarthy High School, FL. The Tigers were hoping that they had found the long term solution to a position that has been lacking for the Tigers over the last few years. 

Castellanos, while young and raw, brings a lot to the table as a prospect and hopeful future Major League Baseball player.

At 6'4'' and around 200 pounds, Castellanos has a lot of room to fill out, and potentially tap into some more power than he has displayed thus far. With his smooth swing, Castellanos should be a consistent hitter at all levels and develop power as he works with major league trainers and swing instructors.

In 2011, Castellanos began to prove the scouting reports on him right

In a ball, he hit a solid .312 and added 46 extra base hits over 562 plate appearances. Only seven of the 46 extra base hits went yard, but some of those doubles should be turning into home runs in the future. 

The one improvement that Castellanos will need to make this coming year will be his strikeout rate. His 23.1 percent strikeout rate is far too high and should come down as he grows into his long body over time. 

We will not see Castellanos' true potential until his frame fills out and his true potential shows. The one full season of professional baseball that he has played was positive, and while there is room for improvement, Detroit Tigers and their fans should be excited about their future at third base. 


Best Outcome

As he grows into his tall, lanky body, his power numbers should  increase and his strikeout rate should decrease.

Castellanos makes his debut in late 2013 with a chance to make the team out of spring training in 2014. He has trouble out of the gate with strikeouts, but shows increased power and line drive ability. His average season is around a .290 with 20 home runs and maybe a handful of stolen bases.

With average play at third base and solid offensive stats, Castellanos becomes Detroit's long awaited solution at third base. 

Worst Outcome

Castellanos proves all of the scouting reports wrong and does not increase his power as he starts to fill out.

Since Castellanos is a hard worker and has such a smooth swing, he does eventually make it to the majors. He gets moved from third base to corner outfield because of sub-par fielding and starts for a few years. By the age of 30, Castellanos has been dropped to the role of fourth outfielder.

His average year while starting is around a .280 average with 10-15 home runs. 


How Nick Castellanos Affects the Detroit Tigers

It seems like every year the Detroit Tigers put together a team that has enough talent to compete all the way to the end. With a stud pitcher like Verlander to lead the staff and an absolute beast in Miguel Cabrera to head the offensive charge, the team will always be competitive. 

If Castellanos is able to make it to the major leagues by 2014, there should be at least two years where he can play with some of the Tigers' best players and make a push at the championship. Verlander and Martinez are locked in through 2014 and Cabrera through 2015. Castellanos' youth should help balance with some of the veterans and create a tough lineup to face. 

The future for the Tigers starting rotation is looking great as well. With names like Scherzer, Fister, Turner, Smyly, Oliver and Crosby to join Verlander over the next few years, the Tigers should have the best rotation in the AL Central for years to come. 

Another change that Castellanos can hopefully bring to the Detroit Tigers is a long-term answer at third base. Over the last few years the Tigers have been letting Brandon Inge control the hot corner. While he provides solid defense, a .235 career batting average is way too low to justify him starting for any team if he is not hitting 30-plus home runs a year. 

Before Inge, there really has not been one long-term, effective answer at third base. The one great third baseman that played for the Tigers was Hall of Famer George Kell in the late 40s and early 50s, but they only managed to keep him around for six years. 

There have been others, but no one ever seemed to pan out because they did not stay around long enough or became a bust. 

While it is too early to claim that Castellanos is the long-term answer at third base, he will have every opportunity to become just that. If he can put all the pieces together, he can be a leader for the Tigers and the face of the franchise during the post-Miguel Cabrera era.