BLUF: Elite-level hitter with power projection and All-Star third base profile.
The Player: Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – The Tigers picked Castellanos in the supplemental first round in 2010. He fell in the draft due to rumored high bonus demands and the Tigers gobbled him up as one of the best high school bats in the draft that year. In his full-season debut, Castellanos hit .312/.367/.436 in the Midwest League as a 19-year old. After a logical promotion to High-A to start the 2012 season, Castellanos had posted a whopping .394/.456/.538 line through Monday’s games.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Instructional League 2009, Spring Training 2010, Midwest League 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 210): Big, lanky frame. Long arms and legs. Plenty of projection for added strength. Has added 20-25 pounds of muscle since signing. Fringe-average athlete that can get a little clumsy at times. Occasionally appears to be still growing into his body. Has frame to become a physical monster at maturity.
Hit: Extremely natural/instinctual hitter. Plus-plus hand-eye coordination. Plus-plus bat speed and barrel awareness. Hands are incredible. Has fantastic control of the bat and can make contact on pitches in all parts of the strike zone. Struggles with recognition of good secondary pitches. Needs to tighten his approach at the plate, being more selective with the pitches he can drive. Will never walk a ton but slight improvements in approach could make him an elite-level hitter with .300 potential. Gifted offensive player. Grade – 60/70
Power: Plus-plus bat speed and consistently lout contact. Can drive the ball to all fields and has tons of doubles power right now. Showed more home run power with increased strength this spring. May still take 1-2 years for home run power to manifest in game situations. Potential for plus power down the line with even more doubles ability. Has natural loft and trusts hands in swing, both excellent indicators of future power. Grade (raw power) – 40/60
Arm: Raw arm strength is plus. Still developing ability to let it rip on the move and without setting his feet. Easy arm strength for the position with good carry. Keeps arm up well and keeps throws on line to first base. Could stand to quicken release. Needs refinement but should be plus tool in time. Grade – 50/60
Fielding: Still learning positioning and footwork after moving from shortstop after signing. Footwork frequently gets messy and can hamper ability to get to some balls and cause throws to lose accuracy. Has solid hands and enough lateral quickness to stick at the position. Needs lots of repetitions. Occasional scout believes he is destined for left field. Should be given chance to play the position and play himself off it, if necessary. May never exceed fringe-average defensive ability. Grade – 30/50
Speed: Below-average runner from home to first. Running mechanics need work. Can be a bit of a plodder out of the box but typically does better once up to speed and underway on longer runs. Could slow a little more as he reaches physical maturity. Understands base running and should avoid becoming the proverbial base clogger. Grade – 40/40
Summation: Gifted hitter with plenty of average and power projection. Could hit at almost any level right now. Needs improved pitch recognition to polish hitting skills. Pitch recognition and approach should also consistently unlock more of his power potential. Rough defender now, but has tools to improve and stick at third base. Extremely hard worker with good makeup on and off the field. Hhas All-Star potential based on offense alone. Could hit .300 with 20-25 home runs and 35+ doubles a year. Potential middle-of-the-order offensive player that contributes big numbers across the board.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Incredibly natural hitter, just needs to improve pitch recognition to unlock potential and drop risk level to low.
Future: Should see Double-A before the end of the 2012 season. Bat could accelerate MLB timetable and have him knocking on the door by mid-season 2013. If given time to improve at third base, could push arrival back to September 2013 or spring 2014.