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Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: Nick Castellanos

fantasy baseball sleeper
fantasy baseball sleeper

Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos (79) at bat against the Atlanta Braves at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex, Champion Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With so many prospects like Yasiel Puig, Jedd Gyorko, and Jurickson Profar already getting the call, there simply aren’t many exciting position player prospects left in the minors to get excited about this side of Wil Myers. Except, of course, Nick Castellanos who is making a strong bid for a Major League call up in Triple-A. It’s a good time too, with Austin Jackson recovering from an injury and Andy Dirks playing pedestrian ball.

Castellanos was a Tigers’ first-round pick in 2010 out of high school but was already hyped as the third-best power hitting prospect in the draft by Baseball America. In 2011, Castellanos played his first season in Single-A and sports a .312/.367/.436 line with seven homers, 76 RBI, 65 R, and 36 2B in 135 games. The year after he dominated High-A over 55 games, posting a .405/.461/.553 line with three homers and 32 RBI, earning a call-up to Double-A where he added seven home runs, 25 RBI, and 35 runs in 79 games.

The Tigers decided to let the 21-year-old start the season in Triple-A this year and move him from third base (a position obviously taken up by the best player in baseball) to the outfield. All he’s done there is put up a healthy .295/.370/.488 line with 10 HR, 35 RBI, 45 R, and 18 doubles over 66 games.

While this is the first season he’s shown the power that the Tigers hoped for back in 2010, he’s remained the same type of hitter as he’s progressed through the minors. He is not an all-or-nothing power hitter like many 30+ home run hitters in the bigs, he’s a line drive hitter who hits for a ton of extra bases. Even with fairly low home run production, Castellanos put up 46 extra-base hits in 2011, another 46 in 2012, and has 29 XBH through 66 games this year. He’s not a “power hitter” in the dirty sense of the word, he’s a good hitter who sometimes flashes good pop.

He has also heated up of late, batting .425, blasting four homers, driving in 10, and scoring 14 runs over his last ten games. The timing couldn’t be better. Mid-June marks the Super-Two exception that allows teams to delay a prospect’s arbitration eligibility by a full year, meaning one extra season under their minor league deal. It also comes with Austin Jackson struggling in his recovery from a hamstring strain that has kept him out since May 11. Jackson is expected back by the weekend but that still leaves Andy Dirks who batted a mere .198 through the month of June, played okay in May, and is now struggling once again in June as he’s batting .207 with four runs batted in and nine strikeouts over his last 13 games. Torii Hunter has played solid ball but at 37 he can always use an off day.

With no financial hits to worry about and a spot in the outfield just waiting to be claimed, everything is coming together for Nick Castellanos to be called up sooner than later.

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