Sep 21, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers third basemen Nick Castellanos (9) catches a line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals batter Salvador Perez (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Will the defense finally improve?
We thought the defense would improve last season but as we stated in our #5 storyline, when Iglesias went down, it screwed up everything. With newcomer Anthony Gose platooning with Rajai Davis in center field, Yoenis Cespedes slated to play a dynamic left field, and possibly an underrated defender in J.D. Martinez shifting to right field, the outfield should be better.
With Alex Avila and James McCann, the catching should be exemplary and most of the pitchers field their position well. So that leaves the infield. If Miggy is healthy, he will be slightly above average at first base. Ian Kinsler will always be sharp at second, and a healthy Iglesias could be the top defensive shortstop in baseball.
That leaves the wildcard of Nick Castellanos. The Tigers’ third basemen will no longer have the protections of “he’s just a rookie” or “he hasn’t played the position in two years” that some were willing to give him for his below average defense last season (ranking last in defensive index rankings). Others were less forgiving.
Casty has spent his off-season trying to get better defensively. The Tigers will give him another season to see if he can improve and become an asset rather than a liability at the hot corner. If he doesn’t improve, Detroit may look at finding another option at third and moving Casty to the outfield if Cespedes leaves after this year or trading him altogether.
One thing is for sure, if Castellanos is the Tigers’ weakest everyday defender, they are in really good shape in that department.
And last but not least, follow the link.