Right as the figurative buzzer sounded on Wednesday’s 4 p.m. MLB trade deadline, the Detroit Tigers traded Nicholas Castellanos to the Chicago Cubs, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.
In return, the Tigers will receive right-handed pitchers Paul Richan and Alex Lange. Richan, the No. 16 prospect in the Cubs’ system according to MLB Pipeline, was a second round pick in 2018. He has racked up 86 strikeouts in 93 innings at High-A. His best pitch is a slider that sits in the low 80s. His fastball, which sits from 89-93 miles per hour (per Pipeline), isn’t overpowering, but he commands it well. He is more of a back-of-the-rotation arm, but one that projects as a high floor prospect.
Lange was a bit more of a boom-or-bust type when the Cubs took him at the back of the first round in 2017. The former LSU product has struggled at times, but he pairs a mid-90s fastball with a power curveball that many scouts believe is his best pitch. Between command issues and a max effort delivery, Lange projects as more of a bullpen arm than someone who will stick in the rotation.
Well this stings a little bit. Richan kept rising up my rankings, probably in that 11-14 range. Lange had fallen to the 20 range.— Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 31, 2019
But also: a totally appropriate trade. Gotta give something to get something. https://t.co/x8sQqQuAKB
The Cubs have been interested in Castellanos for a while to help bolster their struggling outfield. Right fielder Jason Heyward is enjoying a fine season, but center fielder Albert Almora has struggled, with just a 71 OPS+ in 101 games played. The Cubs will now be able to slide Heyward over to center field and plug Castellanos into right. Castellanos will also help against left-handed heavy teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers should the Cubs continue on and make the playoffs.
I like both of those players, but Lange is probably a reliever if he makes the majors. Small chance Richan turns into something really good, but most likely he's a back of the rotation arm. It's not nothing, but it's a fair price for Castellanos. https://t.co/2bBEsMCvBv— Josh Timmers (@Cubsminorswrap) July 31, 2019
At first glance, this is a solid return for Castellanos, who will be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. Neither Richan nor Lange is a future star, but both have a reasonable chance to develop into solid role players at the MLB level.