Coming into the season, it was widely expected that the Detroit Tigers were going to ride their fair share of highs and lows with rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos. For the most part, that has been exactly the case.
After a very impressive Spring Training, Castellanos slashed .233/.275/.397 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in March/April, which he followed up with a line of .233/.286/.322 with just one home run and six RBIs in May. He did notice a slight increase in his walks, though, as evidenced by his marginally higher on-base percentage. Through his first four games in June, however, he is batting a cool .571 (8-for-14) with a pair of doubles. He has now raised his slash line on the season to .260/.306/.384. It would be terrific if Castellanos’ bat could stay hot for the Tigers and the reason is obvious.
For most of the season, the Tigers have been relying on three hitters: Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. There are not many other hitters the Tigers have been able to lean on in 2014, and the bottom part of the lineup has been extremely cold in recent weeks.
Austin Jackson, who many thought was headed towards a big year, has been mired in a deep slump, Torii Hunter has shown good power but he has not been the .300 hitter this year that he has been the previous two seasons, Alex Avila‘s batting average remains stuck in the low 200s and Rajai Davis has cooled off considerably after getting off to a great start. It should be noted that he is still hitting .280.
Everyone is aware of the lack of offensive production that the Tigers have been getting out of the shortstop position this season, and they called up Eugenio Suarez this week to help with that, but he immediately suffered a day-to-day injury in his first game with the club.
Simply put, the Tigers could use another solid bat and Castellanos has the potential to give them one. The 22-year-old Castellanos batted .276/.343/.450 with 18 home runs and 76 RBIs for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens last season, and he was frequently being touted as the Tigers’ top hitting prospect coming into the season. If Castellanos can continue to hit the way that he is capable of, he will help the bottom half of the Tigers’ lineup immensely.