Batting Fourth: Right-Fielder Nicholas Castellanos
The normal choice for the cleanup hitter was Victor Martinez. That was, until digging deeper. Martinez is near the end of his career, and won’t be a member of the lineup in the near future. Nicholas Castellanos deserves to jump ahead of him on Opening Day.
The 26-year old was a massive run producer last year. He doubled his home run total. He had 43-more RBIs. It’s hard to argue against putting him behind Cabrera. When Martinez went down, Castellanos started 25 games hitting fourth, and dominated. He hit .378/.413/1.056 batting fourth, and had five home runs with 18 RBIs. Overall, he hit .272/.320/.811 with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs.
That’s not bad. he’s starting to look more like a power-hitter.
He’ll have similar production as last year. He’s projected to hit .273/.326/.805, with 22 home runs, and 81. Castellanos is projected to be second in OPS in the lineup. He’s projected to lead the team in RBIs. It’s a position normally held by Miguel Cabrera.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if he hits .300 for the first time in his career. Castellanos is a veteran, and only 25 years-old. He’ll be crucial to the rebuild process, and should be one of the players the Tigers build around.
Castellanos is also at a different position. He’ll make the shift from third to right field. Castellanos hasn’t been the best third baseman, and his move makes sense. Right field isn’t as difficult to play as third. Castellanos can focus more on hitting than fielding.
Another thing to consider is that Castellanos hasn’t hit his prime yet. As I said before, he’s 26. He’s been in the league for five years. He’s experienced, and should have a breakout year in 2018.