Scouting Report/Prospect Profile: Nick Castellanos

Tigers Prospect Nick Castellanos hoists the Futures Game MVP Award - H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY

Everyone knows Castellanos' name by now. He's the #1 prospect in the Tigers system, by a long shot. He's a natural infielder, but has been shifted to left field so as to possibly get him to the major leagues quicker. He's 20 years old, won the Future's Game MVP, and shredded Advanced-A pitching in 2012. He's the most heralded positional prospect the Tigers have had since Cameron Maybin, and the clamoring to "Free Castellanos" has already begun.

Prospect Name: Nick Castellanos

D.O.B: March 4th, 1992 (Age 20)

Draft Status: 44th overall (supplementary round) in 2010, from Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, FL)

Frame: 6'4", 210lbs. Still somewhat wiry. Good frame for adding weight. Still has to fill out. Will probably play at 225-230lbs, while still maintaining athleticism.

Positional: Played Shortstop in High School, drafted as a 3rd Baseman, shifted to Right Field in Erie during 2012 season, currently playing Left Field for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League

Positional Projection: Will probably reach Detroit as a Left Fielder, although I prefer him at 3rd Base.

Minor League Statistics:

-2011 (With West Michigan Whitecaps, Class A): .312/.367/.436/.803/135 Games. 507 At Bats, 158 Hits, 36 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 76 RBI, 65 R, 45 BB, 130 K, 3 SB

-2012 (With Lakeland Flying Tigers, Class Advanced-A): .405/.461/.553/.1.014/55 Games. 215 At Bats, 87 Hits, 17 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 32 RBI, 37 R, 22 BB, 42 K, 3 SB

-2012 (with Erie SeaWolves, Class AA): .264/.296/.382/.678/79 Games. 332 At Bats, 85 Hits, 15 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 35 R, 14 BB, 76 K, 5 SB

-2012 Total (With Lakeland and Erie): .320/.365/.451/.815/134 Games. 537 At Bats, 172 hits, 32 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 57 RBI, 72 R, 36 BB, 118 K, 8 SB

Statistics Analysis: In 2012, Castellanos just tore apart Advanced-A pitching, something that would be very impressive if he was aged 23-24, but to do it at 20 years old is just special. Lakeland's home ballpark is a pitchers park, so the fact that he only hit 3 HR's there is something I'm not concerned about, especially when you look at his doubles totals and the uptick in HR power once he made it to Erie (AA). Undoubtedly, the promotion to Erie was warranted based on the fact that Advanced-A pitching simply was not challenging him. Once he got to Erie, he still continued to hit very well, although the strikeout numbers increased and the walk numbers decreased. He fell into a rather significant slump over the last 3 weeks or so of the season, which brought his overall numbers down, but a .815 combined OPS between Advanced-A and AA, at 20 years old, while learning a new position, is incredibly impressive.

Scouting Report

BBP (Bare Bones Projection): All Star caliber 3rd baseman/Left Fielder, solid-average defense in either position (slightly better at 3B), plus arm, very good hitter (.300+ batting average projection), 20+ HR potential, run-producing machine, middle-of-the-order presence, franchise cornerstone.

Basis of Report:

-Personal Observation (2011 with West Michigan, film study, Futures Game viewing, etc)

-Personal Observations from scouts told directly to me

-Compilation of various other reports

Body:

As I already wrote, Castellanos currently stands 6'4" and weighs about 210lbs. Current frame will allow for some added weight, probably up to 225-230lbs. Needs to add strength and simply grow into his body. Solidly athletic overall.

Makeup:

Zero makeup concerns. Very hard worker. No off the field issues. Very mature for his age. Excellent teammate

Hitting/Swing Mechanics:

Natural hitter...makes it look incredibly easy...hands are just phenomenally fast and strong...hand-eye coordination is outstanding...bat speed is legitimate 70 grade...able to barrel the baseball and make solid contact on pitches on every part of the plate...uses the entire field well...current doubles power to all fields, projection for HR power to all fields...outstanding bat control...extremely instinctual hitter...no obvious hitches in swing...hitting mechanics are outstanding...doesn't wear batting gloves (this doesn't mean anything, I just like it)...has issues with good secondary pitches...expands the zone at times...needs to work on pitch recognition...strike zone discipline needs improvement...potential elite-level hitter with approach refinements

Projection Grade: 70

Power:

Current doubles power to all fields...outstanding bat speed allows for 20+ HR projection...makes solid, loud contact consistently...shows excellent natural loft and backspin, which will turn doubles power into HR power with added strength...excellent current gap power...excellent future HR power...hands, hands, hands (just outstanding)...

Projection Grade: 60

Defense (3B):

Shortstop in High School, displays natural infield tendencies...still learning position of 3B...feet get tangled occasionally, leads to sloppy fielding and throws...still has to grow into his body...occasionally looks awkward...natural hands...good arm strength...will never have elite range, but shows enough quickness to play position adequately...solid-average projection...needs more reps to become comfortable

Projection Grade: 50

Defense (OF):

Moved to position at all-star break in 2012...Tigers undoubtedly see this move as quickest path to big leagues...personally I wish he'd stay at 3B, he'll be better there than Cabrera and his bat plays better there (although his bat will play anywhere)...incredibly raw...still learning position...needs extensive reps to become comfortable...takes awkward routes to balls, which is to be expected...hips are fluid enough to get needed swivel when chasing down balls...arm will play as plus from LF, above-average from RF...not terrible footwork as of right now, will improve with added reps...overall potential solid-average OF

Projection Grade: 50

Arm:

Arm strength (raw) is excellent/plus...good mechanics...doesn't allow arm slot to drop very often...awkward feet/unfamiliarity with position occasionally causes bad throws...release is solid right now, will/should speed up as he develops...throws don't tail often, meaning he's able to grab the ball with a 4 seam grip quickly, which helps accuracy...potential plus from 3B/LF, above-average from RF

Projection Grade: 3B/LF - 60, RF - 55

Run/Speed:

Clocked consistently in the 4.4 times from home to 1B, which is below-average...acceleration is not very good, but once he gets going the speed is OK...sometimes looks awkward while running, which I'll attest to needing to grow into his frame...runs pretty well from 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home...will never be a big base stealing threat...instincts are very good on base paths, allowing for his raw speed to play slightly up...maybe 5-10 steals per year based on instincts...may slow down as he adds weight

Projection Grade: 40

Conclusion:

Outstanding natural hitter, high average potential, good power potential, needs work on plate discipline/pitch recognition, potential average fielder with plus arm, not a good runner but will not be a station-to-station player based on running instincts...potential elite hitter...potential perennial all-star...300+ batting average with 20+ HR potential...needs more time in minors working on plate discipline, pitch recognition, and defense

ETA:

I'd like to see Castellanos go back to AA Erie to begin 2013. There, he should improve upon his areas of issue, and perhaps be ready to climb to AAA Toledo around mid season. Potential Major League debut in late summer/September 2013. Depending on final position, could be everyday player by 2014. Again, I'd like to see him stick at 3B, but I'm not the GM.

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