The Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates seasons are officially in the books and the off-season is in full swing. With another season completed, the time has come for John Verburg and I to announce our 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List. Over the last month John and I have combined our lists to form a final product for our readers. Each players production, ceiling, floor and positional value ultimately determined their overall ranking. The finalized prospect list will be rolled out five at a time on my end covering each players background and a description on why they’re ranked that high and/or low. John will follow with a more detailed scouting report on each of the prospects.
Be sure to check back frequently and join the discussion as we work our way through the 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List.
2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #2 Nick Castellanos
Height: 6′ 4″
2011 Team: Class-A West Michigan
2011 Stats: 507 AB .312 AVG .367 OB% 36 doubles 3 triples 7 home runs 76 RBI 45 BB 130 SO
2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland
The Detroit Tigers selected Nick Castellanos with the 44th overall selection in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 18-year-old played shortstop at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Contract negotiations came down to the wire, but when all was said and done Castellanos received a well over-slot bonus of $3.45 million.
Why the lofty signing bonus?
Castellanos skyrocketed up the pre-draft rankings after an impressive campaign in 2009. He finished the season batting .485 with 8 home runs and 45 RBI. Not only did he win the Home run Derby at the Under Armour All-Star game, he was also named the Sliver Spikes Player of the Game.
His senior season brought even more impressive results, as Castellanos hit .542 with 6 home runs and 41 RBI. His performance earned him the 2010 Gatorade Florida Baseball Player of the Year Award.
After his impressive senior season, the majority of the experts projected Castellanos as a top 20 pick in the June draft. His commitment to the University of Miami and strong bonus demands brought him to the Detroit Tigers in the supplemental round though. Despite the lofty signing bonus, Castellanos was a huge steal that late in the draft.
Castellanos has a nice long frame with a good amount of room to add strength before it effects his athleticism. He has good baseball instincts and a strong work ethic that will help him continue to refine his skills.
Castellanos is quick to and through the ball with his clean, compact swing. He routinely makes strong solid contact, putting the barrel of the bat on the ball. He already shows the ability to routinely spray line drives from pole-to-pole with authority. Although his power is currently more of the line drive variety, his strong frame and already above-average bat speed forecast over the fence power in the near future.
His swing has a tendency to get a little long at times and he’s still figuring out advanced pitching. Despite the high strikeout numbers, he more than held his own, despite being one of the younger players in the Midwest League last season. Castellanos is and should continue to be a doubles machine worthy of a spot in the middle third of the batting order.
Scouting reports on his defense are a bit of a mixed-bag. Several scouts see Castellanos eventually shifting to a corner outfield spot because of his limited value at third-base. Others see him making the necessary adjustments to not only stick, but to become an asset there defensively.
In my opinion, Castellanos probably won’t be a game-changer with his leather at the hot corner. His footwork, charging of the ball and accuracy on his throws are all areas that he needs to refine a bit. That being said, he’s not necessarily a liability there though either. Castellanos features one of the stronger more projectable infield arms in the system. Although its limited, his range is more than adequate for him to continue manning third-base. Overall, he’s far from polished defensively, but his work ethic and plus-bat should keep him anchored at third.
Why He’s This High/Low:
Overall Castellanos is highly regarded as a top prospect with serious potential to become a star. He is hands down the Tigers top position prospect. He easily profiles as a plus hitter for both average and power. Although the glove is lagging behind a bit, he still should become a very well rounded player. He will need to manage the strike zone better to avoid challenging Austin Jackson and Brandon Inge for the team lead in strikeouts. His dedication and god given talent should allow him to tackle and correct that issue though. It’s reasonable to expect peaks and valleys throughout his journey though so expectations must be tempered. His defense and plate discipline are shiny examples of that theory.
Despite his already impressive skill-set, Castellanos appears to still be a few years away from The Show. As for next year, Castellanos should begin next season in Advanced-A Lakeland, where he will once again be one of the younger players in the league.