Hahahahahahahaha–Breathe, Grey, breathe! Nick Castellanos?! As a sleeper?! Again?! Well, it must be fantasy baseball sleeper season with a post about Nick Castellanos. I debated on whether or not to write this post (for 17 seconds), but I kinda have to write a sleeper post about Nick Castellanos now because if he really does breakout in a huge way this year, I can’t have this offseason be the one year he doesn’t have a sleeper post. That wouldn’t make any sense. Kinda like every episode of Mr. Robot. Elliot is doing what now? I have no idea, and I watch the episodes and read the recaps. I nearly talked myself out of this sleeper post, too. Not because I’ve written the same one four years counting, though that would’ve been a good reason. I almost didn’t write it because his power was so lucky last year. He nearly led the league with ‘Lucky’ homers (4) and was fifth in the league for ‘Just Enough’ homers (12). 16 homers out of his 26 homers that could’ve easily been doubles (one, actually, could’ve been an out because it was a misplayed inside-the-park-homer). Who’s Greek and might only hit 10 homers next year? Nick Markakis, the Greek God of the Bloop Single, but if there’s room for one more, Nick Castellanos, the Greek God of Hard Contact, seems like a worthy bedfellow. Though, there’s the thing: Hard Contact. So, what can we expect from Nick Castellanos for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
The Greek God of the Line Drive also works as a, uh, Nick name. Castellanos was 10th in the league for LD% with 24.5. The top ten isn’t quite as glamorous as you might imagine. Shin-Soo Choo, Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu, Chase Headley…Now I know why he’s a sleeper, because these names are putting me asleep. Joe Mauer, Alex Gordon, Miguel Cabrera, in his worst year, Dansby Swanson…I mean some of these guys in the top 25 for line drive rate couldn’t or shouldn’t have even been in the majors. Hard Contact, however, is a bit more exciting. Top 5: Gallo, Judge, Au Shizz, Corey Seager and Castellanos. So, this is, like, really weird, said like John Travolta, it seems like the more line drives a guy hits in the Hard Contact clique, the less interesting they are for fantasy. Castellanos’ ground balls were up (not literally), which is not great for a guy that can steal five bags, but is nowhere near a speedster. However, where this gets a bit confusing is there’s other guys in the top five for Hard Contact that hit more grounders than Castellanos: Au Shizz and Seager, so it’s not the death knell. *crosses self* RIP Nell Carter, the original death knell. However, Castellanos’ HR/FB% is way below those two guys. Castellanos has found some kind of magic formula to hit the ball exactly 24 degrees off the ground, which means he hits rockets for 375 feet, and occasionally the fence is low enough for these to go over. It’s weird, wacky stuff, said like Johnny Carson. It’s not exactly the makings of a breakout on the face of it, but if he can alter his launch angle just the smallest of degrees, he could be a 34-homer guy. Other thing going for him: his home runs in the last three years are 15, 18, 26. Nice trend. His average on line drives was .629, which is insane, as you’d imagine for an average on line drives, but what makes him different is how many liners he hits. This guy’s like an iceberg! Finally, his month of September was 7 HRs and .359, which shows what he’s capable of. If Castellanos had a 40-homer, .315 season, it would not shock me. If you’re betting on a guy, why not one that hits a ton of line drives? Rhetorical! For 2018, I’ll give Nick Castellanos the projections of 81/29/103/.283/5 in 588 ABs with a chance for more.