Tigers Prospect Profile #1: Nick Castellanos

Castellanos will start 2013 in Toledo

Nick Castellanos needs no introduction to Tigers fans as he's been one of the top prospects in the organization since being drafted in 2010. Arguably one of the best pure hitters in minor league baseball, where does Castellanos need growth to make the leap to the big leagues? FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT

Nick Castellanos
Position: Outfielder/Third Baseman
Height: 6-4
Weight: 220
Born: 3/4/1992
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Acquired: 2010 MLB Draft, 1st Round
Ranking History: #2 (2010), #2 (2011)

Background
As the Tigers supplemental first round pick in 2010, Castellanos signed for just shy of $3.5 million and made his full-season debut with West Michigan in 2011.

With the Whitecaps, Castellanos posted an impressive .312/.367/.436 line in 135 games as the team's primary third baseman. Along the way Castellanos popped 36 doubles and seven home runs while driving in 76 batters.

The Tigers promoted him to High-A Lakeland in 2012 where he posted a whopping .405 batting average in 55 games. His reign of terror over the Florida State League included 17 doubles, three triples and three home runs before being promoted to Double-A Erie.

With Erie, Castellanos struggled to a .264 batting average in 79 games. With 15 doubles and seven home runs he showed he could handle advanced pitching and simply needed a lengthier adjustment period before his numbers reflected his true talent.

Scouting Report
Castellanos has the basic frame to fill out into a physical beast at maturity. He has added significant muscle since last year and now looks more like the strong, powerful hitter he is capable of becoming.

Despite his hefty price tag coming out of the draft, Castellanos' pure appearance invokes that of a grinder or dirt bag rather than a bonus baby. He is a baseball rat that never quits working, has exceptional makeup and as meaningless as it may actually be, rarely wears batting gloves before digging into the box.

At the plate Castellanos ha an aggressive stroke that he employs early in the count with great success. He likes to swing the bat and would much rather drive the ball to the opposite field than settle for a walk. With his aggressive approach, he will get himself out chasing breaking balls early in the count.

Unlike most ultra-aggressive hitters, Castellanos sees the ball very well and has excellent pitch recognition skills. He often knows whether or not the pitch will be a strike but with his natural hitting ability, he struggles to lay off pitches he can make contact on. At his best, Castellanos is dialed in and driving the ball from right-center field to center field.

With his pitch recognition and hand-eye coordination, Castellanos has a chance to hit .290-.300 at the big league level. There will always be some swing and miss to his game, but as he matures he may draw enough walks to offset his aggressiveness.

Castellanos has legitimate plus power in his bat but it doesn't always show through in games. When he waits for pitches in his prime hitting zone, he can drive the ball from line to line with ease. He has natural lift in his swing that allows him to generate over-the-fence power and could lead to 20+ home runs and tons of doubles at his peak.

The Tigers moved Castellanos from third base to the outfield last summer when he was promoted to Double-A Erie. As a third baseman, Castellanos showed a strong arm, modest reactions and average potential in the field.

In the outfield he has yet to take to the position and often struggles mightily with his defensive responsibilities. He doesn't track the ball well and often gets late jumps off the bat, leading to missed opportunities and extra outs for the opposition. Though his raw arm strength is a plus tool, he has yet to adjust to his new outfield throwing mechanics, forcing his arm to play at a fringy level.

Castellanos has the bat to excel in the big leagues, and he could do that during the 2013 season if the Tigers needed his offensive punch. Defensively, he has no home and while he works hard at his outfield defense, he looks overmatched during many games. Castellanos has middle-of-the-order potential but also has enough arts to carry significant risk in his profile.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A+

Lakeland

215

.405

17

3

32

42

22

.461

.553

AA

Erie

322

.264

15

7

25

76

14

.296

.382


Health Record
Castellanos has been healthy during his brief professional career.

Projection
Castellanos is nearly big-league ready offensively but needs a major overhaul defensively. He can hit any level of pitching with ease and his power continues to evolve in game situations. Offensively, the Tigers could have a plus hitter with plus power on their hands. His defense will hold him back from the big leagues however, as he still has to learn how to defend in the outfield before he can handle an everyday job.

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