5 Offensive Difference Makers for 2015 Detroit Tigers

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Jul 30, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos (9) hits a three run home run in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Nick Castellanos

When Nick Castellanos was a hotshot prospect in the Tigers’ organization, many baseball experts slated him to be a .280ish hitter with 20-25 homers per season.

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Nicky C. had a pretty bad year defensively, ranking at the bottom of the third basemen in the American League that were eligible for the Gold Glove, achieving a -18.8 ranking from SABR’s defensive index rankings. The Tigers worked with him throughout the offseason to improve at the Hot Corner. You do have to cut him some slack for last year, in the majors, being his first full year at third since Single-A. Certainly there was some on the job training happening.

But, really, Detroit doesn’t expect Gold Glove defense from him. They already have two solid infielders with Iglesias and Kinsler and a decent first baseman in Cabrera. They need him to hit up to his potential. We mentioned his numbers above as a goal for McCann in his rookie season, but if Casty puts up those numbers in 2015 everyone will be disappointed.

I think that Nick would benefit from being moved up the lineup. When we tinkered with possible lineups last month on MCB, I thought he’d be better served in the two-hole where he will (eventually) see more pitches in front of Miggy than in the bottom third of the lineup.

We should expect an average in the .270s-.280s for Castellanos with 20 homers this season.