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Detroit Tigers News: Let’s talk about Nicholas Castellanos’ defense

A former third baseman, the future third baseman, and the third round draft pick headline our midweek links.

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MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Three is a magic number. You don’t need that Schoolhouse Rock song to convince you — the strongest shape has three sides, it was the basis of the Roman Triumvirate, and even the Greek underworld was guarded by a three-headed dog. Miguel Cabrera used to play third base. 3rd Bass made that dope song “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

OK, maybe I’m taking this three thing too far.

However, a former Tigers third baseman is in today’s links, as well as a query on who will fill that defensive role in the years to come. Then there is the third round pick. Sure, there are four entries plus our typical hodgepodge of links to round out the article, but let us just roll with this three thing, OK?

Nicholas Castellanos discusses his defensive development

Both defensive metrics and the eye-test attest to Nicholas Castellanos’ improved defense in right field this year. After a historically bad season defensively in 2018, this year he appears to be a serviceable outfielder. His Statcast numbers show that he’s getting a better jump on the ball now but has regressed a little bit in his route-taking, so we should take the numbers and the eye test with a grain of salt.

This article from The Athletic delves into how Castellanos himself has viewed his changes. One of the key points of the article is that Nick has been moved around on the field constantly since he was drafted out of high school by the Tigers in 2010. And when the Tigers approached him to work on playing first base, his answer was simply: “No.”

“I also know that was the position I was put in. I was a shortstop my whole life. They wanted me to play third. So I played third for a year. Then they wanted me to play right, so I played right for half a year in Double A, then they moved me to left field in Triple A because we signed Torii Hunter. I debuted in left for four games, and then I went back to third base in ’14 for my rookie year, all while learning, trying to compete at different levels. So when was I ever really gonna find myself at any one position, when they had me playing musical chairs from the jump?”

And to be fair to him, his repetitions in right field seem to be doing him well. Many fans are disappointed with Castellanos’ offensive regression this season, but seeing him finally take hold to a position in the field is something to be encouraged by. Hopefully, it is not too late for the Tigers and Nick to make a long term agreement.

Who is the Tigers’ third baseman of the future?

When the aforementioned Nick Castellanos migrated from the hot corner to the nine position, a void was created that was originally filled by Jeimer Candelario. The Candyman was acquired in the Justin Wilson and Alex Avila trade to the Chicago Cubs that netted him and Isaac Paredes — an exchange heralded by most of the fanbase as the best in the Avila administration. However, Jeimer has not been able to carry the torch over from his debut performance and has left the Tigers in a pickle.

So if Jeimer is not the future third-bagger, who is? Dawel Lugo is a natural third baseman, who has looked much improved since his return there, but leaves a ton to be desired on offense. Paredes may also fit the bill, as he has been getting reps on the left side of the infield regularly. Then there is Willi Castro, who might be able to shift over if the organization needs him to.

The Tigers may have filled their need in the second and third rounds of this year’s draft with their selections of Nick Quintana and Andre Lipcius. Both were shrewd acquisitions for an organization in need of talent at the hot corner. Given the franchise’s commitment to rebuilding within, hopefully one of these players pans out.

Tigers sign their third-round pick

Speaking of Andre Lipcius, he signed with the Tigers at slot value on Tuesday, marking the fourth draft pick to sign so far. But Lipcius isn’t your average athlete — he also has a degree in nuclear engineering. By taking on that degree track, it earned him in-state tuition rates despite being a Virginia native using a magnet program set up by the school.

By some estimations, his signing bonus is worth about seven years of average salary for a nuclear engineer, which is not too shabby. At very least, he has something very dependable to fall back on if things do not work out in professional baseball for him. But no matter what happens, you cannot deny that this kid is clever.

Help rank us Tigers prospects

While we are not quite at the halfway point of the 2019 season, Bless You Boys has posted a mid-season poll asking our readers to rank the current prospects in the system. With the performances of the three-headed beast of Mize-Manning-Faedo along with the 2019 amateur draft, there is a lot of reorganization to do on the top prospects list. So click, vote and let us know what you think!

Around the horn

Christin Stewart is starting to look impressive. Michigan advances to the College World Series. Here is an early 2020 MLB mock draft. Tigers beat writer Anthony Fenech answers questions in his mailbag. Tigers’ 2019 first round pick Riley Greene met his agent at a Florida pool. David Ortiz successfully underwent a second surgery in Boston. The Tigers have a job opening for a data engineer.

Second basemen are hitting worse than they have since 1996. What is up with Joey Votto? The All-Former Tigers team: the best of the worst. Tigers VP and assistant GM David Chadd discusses the importance of scouting and details the successes he’s had winning championships with the Marlins and Red Sox on this podcast. Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.