Position: Third Baseman
The Tigers signed Castellanos for a $3.5 million bonus after making him their top pick (44th overall) in the 2010 draft. Castellanos starred at Archbishop McCarthy High School as an amateur.
In his debut season Castellanos was assigned to Low-A West Michigan out of the gate. He struggled in the season's first month but turned it on in May and raked his way through the Midwest League.
In 135 games, Castellanos hit .312 with 76 RBI, a league leading 158 hits and 35 doubles that ranked second in the league. The only red flag in Castellanos' full-season debut was the 130 strikeouts against just 45 walks.
Castellanos is the top position player prospect in the Tigers system and one of the top handful of third base prospects in all of baseball. He has star potential and could be knocking on the big league door by the end of the 2013 season.
All praise for Castellanos starts with his bat. He is a gifted hitter with the ability to lace line-drives to all fields. He has an innate ability to adjust as the pitch is being delivered and barrel pitches in all parts of the strike zone.
Castellanos' approach to hitting is still evolving. He employed an aggressive approach in 2011 and showed more patience and more of a plan at the plate this spring. If that continues in 2012, he could be an even more dangerous hitter.
Castellanos has also added considerable muscle to his frame since last year, allowing him increased bat speed and the realization of some of his power potential. Scouts that saw Castellanos this spring walked away believing his picturesque swing, ample loft and strength could lead to plus power down the line without sacrificing his high batting averages.
He has the overall offensive potential to post a batting average in the .290-.300 range with 30-plus doubles and 20-25 home runs annually.
There is some question about Castellanos' ability to stick at third base. He has solid reactions for the position but he remains raw and his glove will have to catch up to his bat. Scouts opinions on him range from being an average defender at the hot corner to believing he will "make a fine left fielder someday."
Castellanos struggled with his throws at some points in the 2011 season but that was more a result of soreness and blister problems than it was his actual arm strength.
Castellanos routinely shows a plus arm on throws across the diamond and has the strength to make all the throws required of the position.
Castellanos is an exceptional offensive talent. He has the raw ability to hit for both average and power and could be a dynamic force in the middle of a big league lineup at his peak.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A
Castellanos battled some minor arm soreness and blister problems in 2011, but neither are a long term concern and he has been healthy throughout spring training.
Naturally, the Tigers promoted Castellanos to High-A Lakeland to start the 2012 season. That assignment may not last more than the first half of the season as many scouts believe he will quickly be ready for the challenge of Double-A. The Tigers have not been shy about pushing prospects in the past, and if he tears up the Florida State League, he could be on the move rather quickly.
If Miguel Cabrera's shift to third base is successful this season, the Tigers will not be forced to be hasty with Castellanos' development. They will be afforded the luxury of giving him plenty of high-level at-bats and making sure he is ready to hit the ground running in the big leagues. If Cabrera struggles to handle the rigors of the hot corner, Castellanos' timetable could be accelerated and he could see Detroit in 2013.
TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!