Detroit Tigers Need to Send Nick Castellanos to Toledo
Detroit Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus showed some great growth in his job last week when he sent Shane Greene down to Toledo for assignment to get his stuff together.
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It used to be that managers like Sparky Anderson and Jim Leyland, had frequent bus stops between their stadiums and their farm clubs.
Whether or not it’s due to the change of the game, the change in economics, agents or free agency, the trip to the minors seems to happen less than it should.
There’s another Tiger that could benefit from an assignment in the minors – third basemen Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos was the golden boy in the Tigers farm system with a pedigree like a Harvard MBA. Nick was born and raised in Florida; the Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida after his senior year in high school; named the MVP of the 2009 Under Armour All America Game and then drafted 44th by the Tigers in the 2010 draft. Nick rocketed through the farm system and was considered untouchable by the Tigers for trade bait during that time.
Called up in the 2013 run to the American League Championship Series due to a need for another bat with Jhonny Peralta’s suspension, Nick was placed in the outfield with limited action. Then in 2014, Nick had his big chance when Prince Fielder was traded and Miguel Cabrera moved back to first base.
Nick was heralded as the “big deal” for the 2014 season given the opportunity ahead of him to be the starting third basemen in his rookie season. However, Castellanos had a fairly average year for a rookie showing splashes of power, hope while displaying inconsistencies in fielding and his patience at the plate. Nick’s line for 2014 was .259/.306/.394 with eleven home runs and sixty six RBI but Nick struck out 140 times.
During Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, Castellanos came up with the bases loaded. A place he has been in nine previous attempts. Three of which he struck out. Not surprisingly, he struck out again lowering his average with bases loaded to .200 and increasing his likelihood to strike out to 40% with three ducks on base.
Let’s not sugar coat it, Nick Castellanos has been abysmal this year. His line .223/.272/.336 4 HR and 26 RBI 61 K’s so far this year. His last seven days he is hitting .133/.133/.133. His line for June is .194/.256/.194 and May was .224/.261/.346.
Castellanos is an impatient hitter and pitchers and coaches are now aware and taking advantage of it. He’s a clearly a first pitch hitter. When he puts the ball in play on the first swing he hits .355 and that accounts for 14% of his at bats. His lack of patience at the plate is also evident with his sixteen walks and sixty one strike outs to date. He rarely puts himself in position to get to the hitter’s count – as of Sunday’s game he had only eight at bats with a hitter’s count! Eight!!
Let’s beat the dead horse of Castellanos’ ineptitude just a little more. If Castellanos goes down in the count 0-1, there’s a 36% chance he will strike out, 0-2 it increases to 44%, 1-2 increases to 54%.
Nick needs to go to Toledo as much as a teenager needs braces or acne meds. He needs to refine his hitting game, improve his patience and his approach to hitting. The Detroit Tigers need a contributing Castellanos in the lineup to have consistency and a needed punch in the lineup. Detractors sending Nick to Toledo, will say we don’t have anything better. At this point, anything would be better than Castellanos including a platoon of Josh Wilson and Andrew Romine.
Sorry Nick, it’s just a gentle reminder that you have to grow and improve to stay in the big leagues. Slumps that last three months without you fixing your game will not earn your spot in the lineup every day.
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