Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Nick Castellanos?
Nick Castellanos is having the best season of his career, and he’s doing it as 21-year-old in Triple-A.
He’s a big-time offensive prospect in the system of one of the best teams in baseball. He’s well known to even casual prospect fans, as he’s been the best player in Detroit’s system forever. And as a player performing in the minor leagues’ highest level, he’s close to an MLB call-up.
So why isn’t anyone talking about him?
I’m not sure, but it’s time to start.
Through 373 PA in Tripe-A, Castellanos boasts a .301/.378/.488 line with a .333 BABIP, making him good for a wRC+ of 134. He has 11 homeruns and 26 doubles, and he’s gone 3-for-4 in stolen bases to boot.
But those numbers don’t represent what excites me most about Castellanos. What has my prospect sense tingling is “Casty’s” newfound patience and approach at the plate, as the outfielder is posting his highest BB% and lowest K% since Rookie ball in 2010.Castellanos is striking out in just 15.5% of his PA, and is walking in 11.3% of them. That’s really, really good, and represents a pretty dramatic improvement over how he performed in 341 PA in Double-A last season.
In fact, it’s a pretty dramatic improvement from the rates he’s posted throughout his career. Castellanos has always displayed the ability to hit for average, but until this year the power had yet to truly show, and the on-base ability was just good, not great. Now, Castellanos is on pace to create the sort of stat line in the minors he could put up in the majors during his prime.
The profile isn’t as sexy in the outfield as it was at third base, and I think that with Casty, some owners are suffering from the prospect fatigue concept my
esteemed colleague Craig Goldstein spoke of a few weeks back as well. But an outfielder who can challenge for .300/.360/.450 with 20 homers in his prime is very valuable. Add in the context that Castellanos will begin his career hitting in one of the majors’ best lineups, and the Fantasy upside becomes pretty awesome: if you’re thinking “Alex Gordon without speed,” that sound about right to me.
So don’t let the lack of noise surrounding Castellanos fool you. He’s putting up gaudy stats that aren’t due for regression, he’s showing real improvement in his approach at the plate, he’s growing into some pop and he’s very, very close to a job in the majors.
Castellanos is an easy Top 10 Fantasy prospect for me now, and is worth a speculative add in very deep leagues if you need outfield help.