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.
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
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.