Sep 1, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Nick Castellanos (30) makes a catch of a fly ball hit by Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (not pictured) in the eighth inning at Comerica Park. Cleveland won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers did it. They called up their top hitting prospect on September 1 and he’s eligible for the postseason roster should they choose to select him. But the Tigers aren’t treating Nick Castellanos as if he’s going to be some sort of October golden boy or anything.
He got two plate appearances on Sunday during the Tigers’ 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians, but Tuesday marks the third big league game in which Castellanos will be active, and it will be the third time he’ll have to come off the bench to see any action. This of course doesn’t say anything conclusively about whether or hot he’s really in the team’s postseason plans, but they don’t seem in a hurry to throw him into the fire to see whether or not he can hit.
I was thinking that the club might want to see if Castellanos could out-hit the struggling Matt Tuiasosopo down the stretch – Tui has hit .203/.288/.254 in the second half – in order to claim the righty-hitting side of the left field platoon by the time the playoffs roll around, but the Tigers face a lefty on Tuesday, the first since Casty’s call-up, but it’s Tuiasosopo that has received the left field nod ahead of him. Again, were’ only three days into September so we can’t conclude anything about the team’s eventual plans, but if they think they have something – right now – in Castellanos, they aren’t killing themselves to find out.
This could mean a variety of things. It may mean that Castellanos will continue in mostly a pinch hitting role and continue on the roster in October as a pinch hitter. It may be that they are waiting unti the division is more wrapped up to really throw him out there in earnest. Or it may simply be that they’re having him hang around the more mature big leaguers to see how player prepare in the show so that he’s ready to seriously compete for an everyday spot come next spring.
I personally think that the organization does see Castellanos as an option for the playoffs this year – at least they don’t see him as NOT an option – but they aren’t yet acting like he’s their primary option. And if Castellanos – the only position player “call-up” we’ve seen play yet in September – isn’t the primary option, then that means the club is probably thinking long and hard about bringing Jhonny Peralta back when he’s eligible to return late this month.