May 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos (9) hits a single in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#2 Nick Castellanos
Speaking of one-dimensional players, Nick Castellanos had the opposite problem of Kinsler. While he was decent at the plate (for a rookie) in 2014, his defense was decidedly not decent.
Castellanos ranked at the bottom of the third basemen in the American League that were eligible for the Gold Glove and achieved a -18.8 ranking from SABR’s defensive index rankings.
I was willing to cut Casty more slack than other Tigers’ fans last year. The 22-year old is not a native third basemen, though he did play shortstop which are somewhat similar positions. When he was drafted in 2010, the organization shifted him to third base where he spent one full-year learning the new position in the low minor leagues. Then, when Fielder was brought in shifting Cabrera to third, he was moved to the outfield for two seasons, playing just a couple games at third base in those two years.
As a full-time rookie, it was a lot to ask for Castellanos to be perfect at a position he was rusty/unfamiliar with, however this year those excuses are no longer valid. While he will never be Gold Glove-caliber, if he is just average it will be a lift for the Tigers that appear stronger at nearly every defensive position on the diamond heading into 2015.
For what its worth, Nick has been spending the offseason in a conditioning program with a focus on improving his first-step and increasing reaction time.