By James Nahikian
The 2012 All-Star Futures Game was incredible if you are a fan of the USA or the Detroit Tigers. Team USA beat the World Futures by a score of 17-5, but that wasn’t what all the chatter was about in the Detroit organization following the game. All the hype was about Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos is the top positional prospect in the Tigers farm system. He started off the season in High-A as apart of the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League. That league proved to be too easy for Castellanos, he racked up 87 hits and batted over .400 and was then promoted to Double-A Erie. In his short stint so far with the Erie SeaWolves, Castellanos is the owner of a .307 batting average and has 35 hits in just 27 games. That success followed him to Kansas City.
Amongst the top prospects in Major League Baseball, Nick Castellanos was the best and took home MVP honors at this years Futures Game. Nick went 3-4 with three runs scored, three runs batted in, three hits and a walk. Oh yeah, and a monster home run to dead center field. Castellanos worked the count to 3-2 before unloading on a pitch and placing it over the center fielder’s head.
Nick Castellanos is a beast, he can flat out hit the baseball. He has torn the ball off the cover at every level that he has played at, and now he did so against the best talent that the minor leagues has to offer.
So what is next? Well, that question remains unanswered.
Nick Castellanos plays third base, so does Miguel Cabrera. And with Prince Fielder locked in at first base for years to come, Cabrera is not going anywhere either. So just move Cabrera to DH and slot in Castellanos at third? Not a chance. Not only is that an awful idea given Cabrera’s young age, Miguel has been very open to the public on his opinion of being the designated hitter. He hates it, so therefor he is not going to be the DH anytime soon. Also, when Victor Martinez comes back, he will be the everyday DH.
So where does that leave Castellanos? There has been many rumors regarding that very question.
The first one being pretty obvious, change his position. Since his promotion to Erie, Castellanos has purchased an outfielders glove and is taking fly balls at left field. This position seems to be open in Detroit as Delmon Young’s future remains uncertain in the upcoming years. However, this is still a work in process. Castellanos continues to play third base everyday for Erie and he is only catching balls during batting practice with very limited instruction.
A position change is without a doubt a very realistic solution, but so is the next idea; a trade. Many teams could use a future hitting machine at third base, and the Tigers may be keeping Castellanos at third base for this very reason. By keeping him at third, you have more buyers interested in Castellanos. Nick has been in trade talks as early as last year when Detroit was thinking about acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez. He remains in the talks this year as Detroit looks for another elite pitcher or long term solution at second base.
So is Detroit going to trade Castellanos? I have no idea, but if they are going to, they will do it very soon. He has been tearing it up in the minor leagues and after winning the MVP at the Futures Game, his stock cannot get any higher. This is a guy, with other pieces added in, that could possibly get you Cole Hammels or Zack Grienke. He could also get you a second basemen.
With that being said, he could also switch to the outfield and potentially have a 90+ RBI season in the future with the Tigers.
I personally want nothing to do with these trade talks involving Castellanos. I said it last year when fans wanted Ubaldo and i’ll say it again this year, Nick Castellanos will be a beast in the Major Leagues.
However, the fact is, Detroit is going to make moves at the deadline this year. And if they want the bigger named guys, they will trade Castellanos.
Like I said, his stock is currently off the charts, but so is his potential.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with Nick Castellanos in the upcoming months. One thing is for certain, if Detroit doesn’t trade him now, they never will.
OTHER TIGERS AT THE FUTURES GAME
Rob Brantly (Catcher) was 1-3 with an RBI double that plated Castellanos. He also threw out a runner at second base who was trying to steal. Brantly is currently with Triple-A Toledo and projects to be the Tigers future back up catcher behind Alex Avila.
Bruce Rondon (RHP) pitched 0.2 scoreless innings in relief. Rondon constantly throws above 100MPH and today touched 101 on multple occasions. Bruce is currently with Double-A Erie and projects to be the Tigers future closer, or be placed somewhere in the back end of the bullpen.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future