Hey everybody. I run the website Baseball-Intellect, a site dedicated to player scouting and mechanical analysis. Some of you will remember my interview with Kurt just prior to the start of the season.
In any case, I wanted to provide Bless You Boys with a breakdown on one of my favorite hitters from the 2010 draft class: Nick Castellanos.
A shortstop in high school, Castellanos will move to third base as a pro. He's not a great athlete, but he's a decent one, with soft hands, sound footwork, and a good arm, all of which suggest he'll have no problem sticking at third base even as he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame.
Castellanos is an advanced hitter for his age with good strike zone judgement and plate discipline. For his age, Castellanos picks up on pitches pretty well, but every once in a while, you'll catch him out in front on something off-speed. However, that should improve with experience.
Castellanos has the potential to hit 25-30 home runs annually. His power translates to all fields and as he gains strength and fills out, you should see many of the doubles he hits early in his career turn into home runs.
Castellanos' power comes from strong hands and many quick-twitch muscle fibers in the forearms that enables him to generate excellent bat speed.
In addition, Castellanos has a swing that should be conducive to power. He's able to generate considerable torque between his torso and hips. The below clips are synchronized to contact. If they happen to get off track, try refreshing your browser.
*Credit to MLB Advanced Media
You can see as Castellanos lifts his front leg, he turns his knee slightly inward and at toe touch (the point where the toe first touches the ground), the knee is twisted back open into foot plant (when the front foot is firmly planted on the ground). At the same time the leg is moving upwards, Castellanos is loading his hands.
If you look closely, you can actually see the point where the separation between the hips and torso occurs. This is especially true in the clip from the center field angle and in the clip below. I slow down the graphics where the separation occurs. As a result of the torque created, the torso is uncoiled and the hands/bat simply come along for the ride. The hands and hips turn together on a firm front leg, which he uses as a base in which to turn on.
*Credit to Baseball Factory TV
I think as time moves forward, you'll see Castellanos tinker a little bit with his swing in an effort to really maximize his power output (maybe getting more of his lower body involved with his swing). But one thing that bodes well for him is that he lets the ball travel deep into his hitting zone, which is something you see in almost every high-level hitter. Letting the ball travel gives a hitter just a bit more time to recognize the spin on a given pitch and where its location will ultimately be. It's also an indication of a hitter's bat speed. The more bat speed one has, the longer one can afford to wait on the ball.
The Tigers invested a lot of money into the future of Castellanos, but I feel the investment was well worth it.
Best Case Outcome - All Star caliber player
More Likely Outcome - Above average regular
Alex breaks down major and minor league players by using sabermetric and video analysis at his website, Baseball-Intellect. To get access to his entire collection of scouting reports and prospect video, you can sign up for a Premium account.