Tigers Prospect Profile #2: Nick Castellanos

It's minor league opening day, and what better way to get it kicked off than with the prospect profile of the Tigers top 2010 draft pick, third baseman Nick Castellanos. Find out why after just months in the organization he's already the top position player.

Nick Castellanos
Position:Third Baseman
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210
Born: 3/4/1992
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
The 44th overall selection in the 2010 draft, the Tigers plucked Castellanos out of Archbishop McCarthy High School (FL) in the supplemental round; making him their first selection after the team had relinquished their first round pick to sign closer Jose Valverde.

Though contract negotiations came down to the wire, there was never really a question of whether the Tigers and Castellanos would get a deal done. In the end, he signed for a massive bonus, just shy of $3.5 million. That lofty total made him the fifth highest paid player in the draft, and the only player outside the traditional first round to eclipse $2.5 million.

After signing so late, Castellanos only had time for a handful of games in the GCL before the season came to a close. In 24 at-bats, he posted a .333/.414/.417 line with two doubles and three RBI.

The Tigers brought Castellanos to the Fall Instructional League for more work and time to get acclimated to the pro game. He impressed the organization and opposing scouts alike with his all around game and polished approach for a high school product.

Scouting Report
There have been some loft comps thrown around for Castellanos at this early stage, including some loose Evan Longoria thoughts. I'm not quite that high on him, but I'd still put an All-Star level ceiling on the young third baseman.

Castellanos has outstanding natural hitting ability. He can barrel balls consistently and he recognizes pitches quickly out of the hand. He knows the strike zone and has worked hard to refine his command of the zone. He spent much of spring training working to recognize pitches earlier, make contact, and get on base; even at the expense of his power.

He offers at least plus raw power right now, with the potential for 20-25 home runs annually at his peak. He has quick hands and strong wrists, and his swing is short and quick to the zone. He elevates on the back side, adding easy loft to the ball. Castellanos is one of those players that scouts sit up and take notice of during batting practice.

Overall, he profiles as a plus hitter for average and power, with the potential to be a middle of the order run producer in the three or five holes. He is a fringe-average runner now, and will likely stay there as he matures physically.

A former shortstop, Castellanos has already been moved to third base where he has taken to the position quickly. He is athletic and has good baseball instincts. He reacts well to the ball off the bat and has soft hands and rapidly improving footwork. His throws are strong and accurate, and he often receives 60-plus grades for his arm. He should have no trouble staying at third base long term, and should be a defensive asset there.

Castellanos is a premium level prospect with the ability to be a significant contributor to a championship caliber club on both sides of the ball.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

24

.333

2

0

3

5

4

.414

.417


Health Record
There has been no history of significant injuries with Castellanos.

The Future
The Tigers will start Castellanos at Low-A West Michigan in 2011 and have indicated they will be willing – if not expecting – to move him to High-A Lakeland around mid-season. His advanced feel for the game should play well in the Midwest League and he should put up solid or better numbers in every category.

As long as he hits, the Tigers will continue to push Castellanos through the system. There are some in the organization that believe he could be ready to challenge for the third base job in 2013 after Brandon Inge's two-year contract expires. Tiger fans have been looking for a long term answer at the hot corner, and they've got their man in Castellanos.

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