The Detroit Tigers created a huge hole at first base when they traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. It was quickly filled by moving over the reigning two-time defending AL MVP in Miguel Cabrera from third base to first base.
However, Cabrera cannot play two positions at once, and all the Tigers did was switch one open position for another.
That is where Nick Castellanos comes in to play.
The 22-year-old player (his birthday was on March 4) has been on complete fire during Spring Training and is playing like someone who desperately wants to not only be on the 25-man roster for a club, but to be on a team’s Opening Day lineup as well.
He entered today’s game against the New York Yankees with 10 hits in 26 at-bats, including two homers and 11 RBIs. He has also only struck out three times and has stolen two bases in the nine games he has played in.
He continued his torrid start to the preseason as he went 2-4 at the plate and collected two more RBIs against the Bronx Bombers earlier this afternoon. Adding to his impressive numbers is that he drove in those two runs with two men out, showing that he can perform in varying levels of pressure. His 13 RBIs leads the league pending how other players do with their games today.
Castellanos might not have the big name like Kinsler, Fielder or Cabrera, but right now he is the one absolutely making that trade swing in favor of the Tigers. Fielder was a great hitter, but there is no doubt that Cabrera has been putting up the better numbers in recent seasons, so Detroit was actually able to upgrade at first with Fielder out of Motor City. Kinsler is obviously a huge upgrade for the Tigers at second base and now Castellanos can round out the infield by providing solid production at the hot corner. There is almost no chance of him putting up the type of numbers that Cabrera did from the third base slot, but it will not be as much of a downgrade as the team might have originally thought.
Castellanos is on a tear right now, and realistically he will probably not continue to average over an RBI per game, but if he can carry over some of his Spring Training production to the regular season, then that would be a huge advantage to the Tigers infield and lineup.