Detroit Tigers' Nick Castellanos Continues To Earn His Stripes

By Brad Faber
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

All winter long, fans of Detroit Tigers baseball have been wondering about will happen if Nick Castellanos struggles in Spring Training. However, the 22-year-old Castellanos is quickly putting their minds at ease.

On Monday afternoon, the Tigers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 17-5 in a game where Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer appeared to be in midseason form, and the young Castellanos went 3-for-4 and collected four RBIs. Castellanos’ third hit was a home run that sailed over the center field wall. He is now hitting .385 with two home runs and 11 RBIs this spring.

It now appears almost certain that Castellanos will be manning the hot corner on Mar. 31 when the Tigers host the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day. Over the winter, the Tigers’ organization clearly stated that Castellanos would not be handed the job, rather he would have to go out and earn it, and he appears to have done just that.

Many believe that Castellanos will be batting in the seventh or eighth spot of the Tigers’ lineup to begin the season. If he hits like he has been hitting thus far in Spring Training, he will most certainly bring life to the bottom third of the Tigers’ lineup, which is an area that has been notorious for being stagnant in recent memory.

Some questions still exist about Castellanos’ defensive abilities at third base, but the fact that the Tigers have Omar Vizquel as their infield coach could only bode well for him. The Tigers could not have possibly found a better mentor for Castellanos, and watching Castellanos’ defensive game develop should be just as fun as watching his offensive game develop.

Fans have been hearing about Castellanos ever since the Tigers were fortunate enough to draft him 44th overall in the 2010 draft. However, fans have never been entirely sure of what to expect of him, and with the exception of Rick Porcello, many of the Tigers’ top prospects over the past decade have never really panned out. Most, of course, are no longer with the Tigers.

For example, Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin have bounced around and have only resembled shadows of the players they were projected to be, and Ryan Perry spent all of 2013 kicking around the Washington Nationals‘ minor league system, where he posted an overall ERA of 6.72. Jacob Turner posted a 3-8 record for the Miami Marlins last season, but he is still only 22 years old, and it should also be noted that he did in fact post a respectable 3.74 ERA.

Castellanos, on the other hand, appears to be well on his way towards becoming everything the Tigers had hoped he would be after drafting him four years ago. All of the signs are suggesting that Castellanos is going to be a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2014, and will ultimately develop into a top-of-the-line third baseman.

Brad Faber is a Detroit Tigers writer for Follow him on Twitter @Brad_Faber, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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