March 3, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos (79) works out prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex, Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Detroit Tigers call up Nick Castellanos?

It may be time for the Detroit Tigers to call up Nick Castellanos for good. Andy Dirks struggled mightily at the beginning of the year with a .614 OPS in April, picked it up a bit in May with a .715 OPS, but has been terrible in June, with a paltry OPS of .511 so far this month. With Victor Martinez continuing to struggle to turn it on fully at DH and Alex Avila not providing much more than a black-hole offensively at catcher (although he did have a good hitting day yesterday), it may be time to upgrade a position of weak offense.

There is no realistic option at catcher that will drastically improve the offense, and Jim Leyland and the Tigers seem willing to let Victor swing out his troubles. This leaves Andy Dirks and left field to be upgraded upon. Now, Andy Dirks has still provided about a win above replacement according to baseball reference, but about all of that is on the defensive side, which provides very unreliable advanced statistics through small sample sizes. Matt Tuiasosopo has been crushing the ball all year and has been a pleasant surprise, but he has been used sparingly and correctly for the most part, which is allowing him to maximize his contributions to the team. Also, he has shown no past signs of hitting at the major league level, and is most likely not a part of the future of the Tigers. Someone who is, however, is Nick Castellanos.

Nick Castellanos has had a very good year batting wise so far in Toledo in 2013, and just had a recent hot stretch of 10 games in which he batted .450 and had an OPS over .1300. With the recent promotion of Wil Meyers to the Rays, it may be time for the Tigers to follow suit with their best hitting prospect. The deadline for super-two status has most likely passed, so the Tigers more than likely would not be giving Castellanos an extra year of arbitration.

The Tigers would likely have to give Castellanos the starting left field job over Andy Dirks, otherwise it would be more beneficial to just leave him in the minors for now, as he would not find playing time anywhere else with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez playing everyday. There is no sure sign that Castellanos is ready to hit consistently at the major league level, or defend for that matter. He is still in the transition faze of moving to left field – his third position in the last two years. If the Tigers want to take a chance to see if they can improve their offense a bit, it might be time to call up their best prospect for good.

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Tags: Andy Dirks Detroit Tigers Nick Castellanos

  • louwhitaker

    Or we could rest V Martinez, DH Prince, move Miggy to first and play Castellanos at third. I really don’t understand why they made him an outfielder. The Tigers have no long-term solution at third (much as I admire the job Cabrera has done there, does anybody really think he will be a remotely adequate third basemen within a year or so?) and the one place we actually seem to have prospects close to being ready to step up to the majors is in the outfield. The last long-term solution the Tigers had at third was named George Kell. We screwed up Hojo and screwed up Travis Fryman, and now we are screwing up Castellanos.

    • cbraendle

      I agree somewhat with “screwing up” Nick C. I don’t think we’re messing with his hitting much, but it’s definitely tricky to keep learning a new position every year. Moving him to the outfield is also drastically lowering his value trade wise rather than keeping him at third. I think it’s been shown so far that Leyland is not going to “rest” Victor, otherwise i would have pointed that out as a possibility. The only real possibility for Castellanos to get playing time anytime soon is to replace Dirks with Nick. But like Chris said, Dirks gives us a lot of defensive value, which Nick won’t. I believe we should just leave Nick in the minors until September, and then see where he’s at in Spring Training next year, but he’s at least worth a look right now.

    • Tim Smith

      Fryman had a pretty good career in my book. He had two 100-RBI seasons with Detroit and was a solid third baseman. He won a Gold Glove at Cleveland.

      • louwhitaker

        Yeah, so did HoJo…my point is that they didn’t have these careers in Detroit. We have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity where third base is concerned, and Nick would seem to be perpetuating this pattern.

    • Brian Bass

      There’s one problem with your thinking in regards to his defensive ability at third, and that is according to every report from the minors, he was not going to make it to the majors because of his defense, but in spite of it. People tend to assume the unknown has got to be better than the known, but that’s not always the case. I can’t wait to see this kid in the majors, but I trust the front office to have more knowledge and a better grasp of possible solutions to their problems. I would not be shocked if someone goes on the DL Aug 31, and they bring him up, similar to Garcia last year in order to get him on the post season eligable roster.

  • chrisHannum

    Andy Dirks isn’t hitting as well as he needs to hit, obviously, but I think he’s adding some value with his glove that Castellanos couldn’t match. I’m a little more concerned about Victor Martinez, who is definitely not going to make any non-bat contributions, but it would take a lot for him to get benched.

  • Justin Wiedle

    I think it could be a topic for discussion, but I don’t think you make make any supporting arguments on why Castellanos would be better than Dirks/Tui combo.

    Say Castellanos hits “decent” for a rookie. He will end up providing us with Dirks-like numbers and we are no better off. It is probably fair to say he is not a better defender than Dirks. Dirks is very solid in the OF, and that is one of his main advantages over his internal competition. Also, what makes you believe that Castellanos is more ready than Avisail? Avisail has batted .450 at AAA over a short period and handled himself respectably in the majors up to this point. He is also a good defender.

    The benefits for bringing up Castellanos at this point don’t seem all that great to me. I think he should get some ABs in September, but until them, let him mature in Toledo.

  • Tim OConnor

    Cody: this is probably going to sound petty, at the least. But it just tweaks me when people try to force nicknames on players. “Casty?” Seriously? What would have been wrong with a title of “Should the Tigers call up Nick C.?”

    Apologies. Guess I’m just in a bit of mood this morning. Good day to all!

    • cbraendle

      Actually, I’m not the one who did that haha. My title is the original. I’m guessing one of the site editor’s changed it to shorten it up a bit.

  • John Verburg

    This is just my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth. Here is the truth about Castellanos. He is a DH. If you throw him out there in the field, the Tigers are doing so with the realization that he is going to provide well below average defense, wherever that is. So, the real question then becomes, does the Tigers front office have the balls to DFA Victor Martinez to make room for Castellanos. And the answer to that is no. They are going to give Victor Martinez every opportunity to hit. They have 14 Million reasons to do so. Dirks may lose some at-bats, but he is going to lose them to Tuiasosopo. Avisail Garcia is a better overall player than Castellanos, so if an outfielder is needed, he should get priority. Castellanos looks like a great young hitter. There is no rush. If they wait, they could have the next Edgar Martinez on their hands, or they could have the next Jesus Montero. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he got dealt.

    • Tim OConnor

      Fully agree: Nick has DH written all over him. I wish they’d have him DH in Toledo, to be honest. Some players, like the great Edgar Martinez that you mentioned, can handle sitting for the whole game and then just get up for their four at-bats. But not all players seem able to make that adjustment. Be nice to see which of those categories Nick would fall into.

      • chrisHannum

        I think the Tigers DH spot is going to be tied up in the future, particularly if Cabrera signs a long-term deal. Either he or Fielder is going to be old enough and sore enough that he’ll need to DH almost all of the time. Besides, if Castellanos is used as a DH this early it would ruin his trade value.

    • cbraendle

      I agree as well. I’m definitely not saying to call him up right now, I’m just pointing it out as an option, as I had not heard much of anything about him so far this year upon writing this article. Now i’ve seen at least 2 major websites post articles about calling him up lol, but was just giving a pleasant reminder that he is starting to rake in AAA.

  • tristatebb

    Any word on Castellanos recently? We watched him Erie a lot last season. He played a lot of right field and wasn’t god-awful. He has a fantastic arm from the outfield as well.

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