We’re all aware that Spring Training numbers are fairly meaningless, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good old-fashioned home run (or three). The Detroit Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in Grapefruit League play by a score of 10-1 on Monday. The potent offense was highlighted by three home runs — one each by Nick Castellanos, Miguel Cabrera, and Kevin Russo.
The video of Castellanos’ fifth inning two-run blast isn’t embeddable, but here’s the link if you want to go check it out and come back. Castellanos hasn’t displayed a whole lot in the way of home run in his minor league career yet, but the scout types seem to be in agreement that it will come. This home run shows us both (1) why he hasn’t yet hit a ton of homers and (2) why he indeed will. Castellanos doesn’t often look to pull pitches, especially when they’re out over the plate like the one Jonathan Papelbon threw here. He simply looks to drive the ball to the opposite gap. These balls will begin to go over the fence with higher frequency as he matures, but even if they don’t, gap power isn’t a terrible skill for Comerica Park.
Papelbon ran into more trouble later in the inning with two on and Miguel Cabrera up at the plate. The catcher set up down-and-away, but Papelbon’s pitch missed up-and-in and, well, you probably know what happened. Miggy turned on it.
It was Cabrera’s second homer of the spring (here was his first). We’re not going to learn anything new about the big fella this spring, but it’s always fun to watch him deposit one in the seats.
Kevin Russo has a chance (however small) to make the team this year as a right-handed outfielder (who could also play infield), but he’ll have to make the team on the strength of his bat. The Philadelphia announcers don’t seem to think his ninth inning home run would have left the ballpark had it not been for the stiff breeze, but it counts all the same.