Detroit Tigers: Week 5 Heroes and Zeroes
By Matt Pelc
May 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos (9) slides in safe at home on Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) in the second inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#1 Zero: Nick Castellanos
Oh Nick, I want to embrace you, I really do. I wrote about you extensively this offseason how I knew you would take a step up this season both offensively and defensively and drown out the haters, but I am still waiting to be right.
Nick Castellanos has struggled at the plate really all season long except for a 10-day stretch in mid- to late-April. He rarely looks comfortable at the plate and an average or bad pitcher can look like Nolan Ryan when facing Castellanos these days.
His slash line for the year dipped to .216/.270/.351 after a .174/.200/.261 week. More inexcusable than those numbers was striking out 9 times.
Nick will never be a fan favorite because he is not a great defender. Every good play he makes at third base is marginalized, every bad play magnified. With that said, he had a very, very bad week defensively, the most egregious case being when he airmailed a throw past Miguel Cabrera that helped Kansas City score their fourth run on Friday night. With an accurate throw, David Price would have been out of the inning after allowing three runs. Not great, but would have still had the lead. Instead it was 4-4 heading to middle innings because of Casty’s error.
Castellanos’ poor defense is really exposed when Jose Iglesias is out of the lineup. Such a special defender, Jose shortens the field for Nick, allowing him to relax and be okay over there. Without Iglesias, he has to be better–and he’s not.
I am hoping Castellanos suddenly finds it and its way to early to call someone a bust in the second month of year two, but something has got to give. Perhaps a stint in Toledo is needed to get him right. Remember when the reset button was hit on Max Scherzer’s career when he was sent to AAA in 2010? No one is exempt from a reality check.
The Detroit Tigers have invested way too much in Castellanos for him to be hitting near the Mendoza line this late in the season.