In the present, the Detroit Tigers are getting a brief glimpse of the bleak future that awaits them. The news of Victor Martinez‘s torn meniscus is an eery foreshadowing of things to come for a core that will eventually be defeated by father time. However, if Mike Ilitch is willing to use money on Yoan Moncada that he was not willing to use on Max Scherzer, the Tigers’ future would immediately be altered.
Moncada, as most baseball fans now know, projects to be an elite prospect, and the next in a long line of Cuban phenoms that includes new Tigers’ outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes. The young infielder is a 6 foot, 210 pound switch-hitter with power and speed. And, for Detroit he represents an opportunity to immediately add impact talent to a depleted farm system.
Castellanos, meanwhile, is a young talent that Tigers fans are already familiar with. The young third-baseman was highly touted in the organization for many years before his debut season in 2014, and he did not disappoint. While his work with the glove certainly needs work, Castellanos’ hitting prowess was not overstated. In his first full season in the league Castellanos hit .259 with 11 homeruns and 66 RBIs. No rookie, other than Jose Abreu, had more RBIs, and only Abreu, and Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton had more hits than Castellanos’ 138. His talent at the plate is undeniable and when Miguel Cabrera passes the baton in Motown, it will be Castellanos whom he hands it to.
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But Castellanos will need a running mate, or two, if the Tigers are going to avoid their ominous future, and Moncada is the perfect fit. Pair the Cuban phenom with Castellanos and suddenly the Tigers would have a good young nucleus of position players.
Taking into consideration the players that the Tigers currently have, their core would be promising with a high-profile addition like Moncada, even if Keith Law did just recently rank the Tigers’ farm system as the worst in baseball. Detroit has players who may not be able to carry a team, but who could develop quickly around two stars who can.
For example, young outfielders Derek Hill and Steven Moya, could be excellent complimentary pieces in a lineup that features Moncada and Castellanos. Hill, currently the Tigers top ranked prospect, has tremendous speed, (he runs a 60 yard dash in less than 6.4 seconds), as well as the bat speed and plate discipline to be an excellent table-setter. Moya, on the other hand, is just the opposite, but just as dangerous in his own right. The jury is still out on the 6 foot 6 outfielder, but his 2014 act was pretty impressive. In 133 games with Erie, Moya hit .276 with 35 homeruns and 105 RBIs. Beyond that, he has an outstanding arm, and serviceable athleticism for a man of his size.
Even prospects like Moncada are no sure thing but add his star potential to a core that features Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, as well as potentially gifted players such as Moya, and Hill, and a bright future may still not be a certainty but is certainly more realistic.