Why’s Everybody Down On Nick Castellanos?
A couple of months back, I recommended picking up and stashing Astros Jonathan Villar, Mets Wilmer Flores and Athletics Michael Choice as solid prospects who are in line to receive a legit shot at playing time with their respective organizations. So far, two of the three have been recalled with Villar driving me absolutely crazy in the early going. When I’ve played him, he’s gone 0-4. On the bench, he’s an automatic 2-4 with two steals. It’s maddening, but a good problem to have considering I stashed him for a buck when Rockies Rosell Herrera fetched $4 in the Ottoneu Experts League just yesterday.
This morning, I began scanning Triple-A for more prospects worth grabbing for a late season push at a championship. In terms of bats, the pickings are pretty thin. Cardinals Kolten Wong. So are DBacks Chris Owings and Matt Davidson. I still like Choice, but the Athletics are healthy in the outfield again, blocking his path.
Cue Nick Castellanos.
Once considered a prospects darling, the right-handed hitter has seen his prospect stock gradually drop. His .280/.352/.444 line isn’t flashy. Neither are his 13 home runs in over 500 plate appearances. However, we are forgetting the most important number as it pertains to Castellanos is his age. 21.
Castellanos is one of three, 21-year old bats in Triple-A now that Wilmer Flores has been sized for big boy pants at the Major League level. On paper, Chris Owings is having a better year and plays a more premium position, overshadowing Castellanos’ accomplishments. However, the Tigers left field prospect plays in a league which doesn’t inflate numbers nearly as much as out west.
Recently, I spoke to a contact who believe Flores’ numbers were Vegas-aided which was expected. I’ve seen Chris Owings and am sure his PCL numbers are inflated as well. This leaves Castellanos as the only qualified 21-year old in Triple-A having a solid year in an environment which doesn’t exaggerate stat lines.
This gives you a chance to pounce.
A look under the hood at Castellanos’ stat line reveals 33 doubles and a triple. By season’s end, 40 doubles and 16-18 home runs is not out of the question. At 6-foot-4 inches, Castellanos should fill out his frame and power is almost always the last tool to develop. Plus, his strikeout rate is under 16% which points to a player who understand the importance of making contact. Add a 10% walk rate and a plus hit tool is in the realm of possibility.
So while he’s not oozing awesome now, Castellanos may be one of, if not the most undervalued prospect asset in the fantasy baseball world. Plus, Andy Dirks stinks. I’d be surprised if Castellanos was not given a long September look given the Tigers semi-comfortable lead in the A.L. Central. In swapping out Jhonny Peralta for Jose Iglesias, Detroit might not be able to afford running an offensive albatross out to left field on a nightly basis.
Admittedly, I’ve debated on whether or not to deal Nick Castellanos because he’s pretty boring next to Red Sox Xander Bogaerts or Astros Carlos Correa. However, players who have always been young and reasonably productive for the level of competition are often overlooked before becoming quality Major Leaguers. I’m not sure Castellanos’ value will be this low again.
2 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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