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There is plenty of depth at third base for the 2017 fantasy baseball season. As a result, several players from the position are undervalued. One of them is Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos would have been valued more in drafts had he finished last season. He was well on his way to a breakout year, but it was cut short due to a fractured bone in his hand after getting hit by a pitch in early August. Castellanos went on the disabled list, missed seven weeks of action and returned to play in just five games at the end of the season.
Castellanos was considered a top prospect but hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations yet. Not every prospect hits immediately. It has taken Castellanos some time to figure it out.
He batted .255 with 42 runs, 15 home runs, and 73 RBIs in 154 games in 2015. He improved last season in 110 games, batting .285 with 54 runs, 18 home runs and 58 RBIs with an .827 OPS in 411 at-bats.
Castellanos, who will be 25 when the season starts, has increased his power each season. He is hitting more fly balls, improving from 40.4 percent in 2015 to 43 percent last season. He also hit the ball harder elevating his hard hit rate from 32.8 percent in 2015 to 35.7 percent last season.
If you play in an on-base percentage league, Castellanos isn't as appealing due to his low walk rates. Since he became an every day player in 2014, his walk rates are 6.2, 6.6 and 6.3 percent. After hitting less than .260 in his first two seasons, Castellanos saw a jump to .285 last year. The one concern could be the lack of runs since he is likely to hit sixth in the order.
While he had a .345 BABIP, his career mark is .329 and with the solid hard contact, the average could be around .280. Castellanos has an Average Draft Position (ADP) outside the Top 200. In most leagues, he will be a corner infielder with upside.
After crushing left-handers in 2015, he wasn't as good against them last year, batting .207 with five home runs in 116 at-bats compared to .315 with 13 home runs in 295 at-bats against right-handers.
Many people get highly influenced by last season's stats, especially the players that finish the season in a big way. This didn't happen for Castellanos and some might have forgotten the pace he was on. Take advantage and draft Castellanos as a value play with the potential for 25-30 home runs.
In mixed leagues, he will be a corner infielder and in AL-only leagues he can save you money in an auction or allow you to build at other positions in a draft format if you miss out on the elite third basemen.