Nick Castellanos has three full seasons in the majors before the age of 25, but it wasn't until last season that he returned plus value at the plate. His strikeout rate and walk rates are both remarkably stable for someone of his age, but the batting average and power both jumped in 2016. His isolated power metric has improved each of the past three seasons as he continues to hit flyballs at a higher rate each season and mostly of the pull variety. He was an odd hitter in 2016 in that he was much better against righties, as a righty, than was against lefties. He hit .315 against right-handers (.207 against lefties) and had 13 of his 18 homers against righties. For his career, he has been rather split neutral but last year could be a side-effect of him working on pulling more baseballs. He's entrenched as Detroit's third baseman and could continue to improve at age 25.
Castellanos has looked comfortable batting second this spring, and he'll likely begin the season in that spot, MLive.com reports. One of Detroit's goals in spring training was to find a replacement for Cameron Maybin in the No. 2 spot, and Castellanos appears to be locking down the role. "Nick hasn't hurt his case. I'll say that," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Nick's done a lot of things well. He's run really well. He's been aggressive on the bases. I know he wants to hit second. But he can't just do it for six weeks in spring training. You've got to do it once the season starts for 162 games." Ausmus wouldn't say definitely that Castellanos will hit second, but it would be a surprise if he didn't to begin the season.
Starting at third base and batting third, Castellanos went 2-for-4 in Wednesday's spring training win over the Braves. Castellanos was sidelined over the weekend while dealing with a quad injury, but was able to DH on Monday then take the field Wednesday. The 25-year-old will likely bat second to start the season, and he could be in line for a big year hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera.
Castellanos (quad) will start at third base and bat third in the order in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Braves. After being sidelined over the weekend while dealing with the quad injury, Castellanos returned to the Grapefruit League as the Tigers' DH in Monday's 3-3 tie with the Nationals, going 0-for-3 with a strilkeout. Now that he's been cleared to take the field two days later, it looks like Castellanos is no longer bothered by the quad injury, so he shouldn't face any restrictions over the rest of the spring. Castellanos turned in a career-best season in 2016 despite being limited to only 110 games due to injury, so if his health prevails this time around, it's not out of the question for him to take his production up another notch in his age-25 season.
Castellanos (quad) was scratched from the lineup for Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports. The Tigers initially listed Castellanos as the starter at third base Sunday, but manager Brad Ausmus elected to err on the side of caution and keep the 25-year-old out for the third day in a row in order to let him recover from the tight quad. He's now tentatively slated to serve as the team's DH in Monday's game against the Nationals and should return to the field at some point later in the week.
Castellanos (quad) will play third base and bat third in the lineup in Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets. Castellanos had been held out of the lineup the last two days due to a tight quad, but his availability Sunday suggests the injury is no longer a concern. The 25-year-old has gone 6-of-19 with four doubles in eight spring games.