The blockbuster move of the offseason for the Detroit Tigers was trading away star first baseman and cleanup hitter Prince Fielder in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler. This move also opened a spot for Nick Castellanos to join the big league club at third base after Miquel Cabrera shifted over to Fielder’s old position of first.
Kinsler and Castellanos have hit the ground running in Detroit. Both players had solid springs, as each player batted over .300. Kinsler added three home runs and nine RBIs while Castellanos had two home runs and 16 RBIs. Both players have continued that success in the regular season, as they are hitting .313 and .375 respectively.
The duo was on display in the Tigers’ 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. Kinsler went 2-for-5 with two stolen bases and two runs scored and Castellanos went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run. Castellanos’ home run, the first of his career, was particularly impressive because it was a line drive that went over the wall in deep center. Their performance was overshadowed by Joe Nathan‘s blown save, his second of the season, but their efforts were key in the Tigers’ victory. Kinsler and Castellanos accounted for five of the Tigers’ seven runs in the game.
Detroit is off to a 5-2 start to the season, and these two are a big reason why. The duo has more than replaced Fielder’s stats last season. Both players have a variety of different skills that are better fits for the Tigers team. Hitting for an average is something that both players do well, and Kinsler provides a much-needed base stealing threat. Castellanos has shown a knack for driving in runs so far in his career, and the Tigers hope he can continue on that trend.
The two players are also much less of a financial burden on the Tigers. This freed up some extra money that the Tigers can use in free agency with an emphasis of re-signing Max Scherzer. Although Scherzer has already declined a contract offer, the Tigers do have some financial room to try again.
The Fielder trade drew a bit of criticism from Tigers fans when it happened, but those questions have disappeared following the solid play of Kinsler and Castellanos.
Kinsler and Castellanos have been everything that the Tigers hoped they would be this season. They have been two of the leaders in the Tigers’ process to remake the roster. The new roster features a balance of defenders, hitters and speed that give the Tigers a great shot at a World Series this season.