Let’s face it. The baseball world is waiting on the Mookie Betts to the Dodgers trade to go through. While that may happen any moment, not everyone will have the opportunity to draft Mookie Betts. So we turn our attention to the definitely at this moment in time overlooked Nicholas Castellanos. He traded in the cavernous Comerica Park for the cozy confines of Wrigleyville and took off in the second half last year. What does a move to Cincinnati mean for him?
How We Got Here
Castellanos made his major league debut in 2013 as a young 21 year old. Being on a loaded Tigers team (oh those halcyon days of yore) he got into the postseason as a 22 year old and managed a home run in 10 at bats in a divisional series against the Orioles. We thought there might be a star in the making. But then he plugged along as a solid major league player. Good enough to be a middle of the order bat on a now bad Tigers team, but more of a JAG than a star. 2017 came around and he managed 26 homers, 101 RBI, 10 triples, and 36 doubles. By then he was 25 and considered ‘post-hype’. In 2018 he bumped his doubles to 46, but his homers dropped to 23. His average was hovering just under .300 those two seasons so that was good, but by the first half of last year he was dropped in a lot of shallow leagues. It’s the launch angle revolution here pal, can’t have you only hitting 11 homers in the first half with a .273 average.
But then, a lifeline. Packaged and sent to the windy city baby! That second half was what dynasty players had been waiting on all those years: .321 average, 16 homers, 20% home run per fly ball! Now that’s launch angle.
Expecting a .321 batting average to repeat is foolhardy. Also, going to 20% home run per fly isn’t totally reliable, since he was 8% the first half of the year. Essentially, regression with a small ‘r’ from a great half of baseball.
First, his age. He’ll be 28 this year. That’s prime time for most players in the post steroid era.
Second, his ballpark. I mean, it’s a great name: Great American Ball Park. It also increases home runs for right handed hitters like young Nick 18% vs other stadiums.
Third, health. He’s averaged over 150 games the past three years. So he’ll be in the lineup. Speaking of…
Fourth, the Reds lineup. Sure, Joey Votto isn’t what he used to be. But Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Senzel, there’s a lot of thump there. Castellanos will probably slot in 5th and have a ton of RBI opportunities. That’s a massive upgrade over what he’s had in Detroit.
Fifth, his mindset. His nickname on players weekend was “Artist”. This guy enjoys painting and photography. That’s not the typical major leaguer for sure, and keeps him steady during the ups and downs of the major league schedule.
Even though he might not live up to his amazing second half, there’s too many positives to ignore. You’re going to get a batting average around .300, with the potential for career highs in RBI, runs and home runs. This ballplayer’s art is hitting. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.