Feb 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos during a team practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Castellanos has been a mainstay on the list for the last four years. After being selected by the Tigers in the 2010 draft, Nick cracked BA’s Top 100 list the very next year at #65. In 2012 his ranking jumped up to 45, and last year he was named the 21st best prospect in baseball. His ranking took a small step back this year, but remains strong at 25.
It’s no surprise to see Castellanos ranked in these sorts of lists. We’ve been hearing about him for years, and he has carried an above average bat along the way at every stop in the minor leagues. But, as Baseball America points out in the little blurb about him, he’s being tossed into the deep end in 2014.
"Few prospects have a weightier burden for this season. Castellanos must reacquaint himself with third base and contribute offensively to a team with legitimate World Series aspirations."
I was fully prepared for the Tigers to only receive one prospect in the Top 100 (after getting three last year: Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, and Bruce Rondon), but Baseball America shocked us all (I think) by including Devon Travis in this elite list. I was surprised enough that they named him the number two prospect in the Tigers’ system, never thinking that he would be considered of national prominence.
Here’s what they had to say about Travis:
"Travis’ 2013 season caught everyone by surprise but him. Posting similar numbers at a more advanced level will position him as Ian Kinsler’s eventual replacement in Detroit."
I’m not particularly optimistic that Travis can quite maintain those numbers – .370+ BABIP and all that – but even if his batted ball fortune comes back to the field a little bit (or even a great bit), he still could be an .800s OPS hitter in AA.
Travis, a 13th round pick by the Tigers in 2012 (out of Florida State), is looking like quite a steal for the Tigers. Through 683 minor league plate appearances from Short-season to Advanced-A, Travis has posted a career OPS of .914. That represents a fantastic batting line, but we’re not talking about a particularly large statistical sample.
Travis was always going to be an intriguing name for Tigers fans to follow this season after his strong year I n2013, but Baseball American being so bullish on him adds even an extra layer on top of that. I just hope it doesn’t sway our expectations for him too drastically.