By: Jeff Riger
Despite the Tigers having a team packed to the gills with stars, fans continue to be interested in who comes next. Every season it seems to be somebody different. We have heard the names Matt Anderson, Jeff Weaver, Cameron Maybin, Jacob Turner, Andrew Miller and even Humberto Sanchez, and the one constant with all these guys is that the fans can’t wait for them to don the old English D. Of course most of the above names never played in Detroit or spent limited time with the team before being traded away, but when they were prospects in the organization, that’s all people talked about.
Now those same fans rap about Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos, who has been learning how to play left field, is in no danger of being traded (unless it’s a blockbuster deal) but it seems like fans will have to wait at least until next season to see the can’t-miss prospect. On Tuesday, when Detroit President and GM Dave Dombrowski talked to the media about new Tiger Jose Veras, I had a chance to ask him about the status of Castellanos and if we might be seeing him in September when there will be more room on the roster.
“Well I don’t know about September because we haven’t had conversations,” Dombrowski said. “A lot is dependent on how the clubs look and how much playing time a guy gets, so that’s a hard question.
“Do I think that Castellanos could come in the big league and play right now? Yes I do! Can he continue to develop? Yes? Probably with some organizations in a different spot then us, he probably would be up there… but for us, right now we’re sticking with what we have in left field.”
Dombrowski did make it a point to explain that Castellanos is not the only major league ready minor league outfielder in his system right now – though Dombrowski would announce he was trading another one of those outfielders, Avisail Garcia, later that evening.
“Anytime you talk about Castellanos and you talk about Garcia and who’s more ready,” Dombrowski asked. “They’re different type players at this point but Garcia is a more well rounded player at this time because he has been an outfielder his entire career, he’s a real good outfielder, he can throw really well from the outfield. Castellanos is a real good bat that also is a developing outfielder, so we love them both but they’re different type guys.”
Dombrowski relayed to the media how playing a player like Castellanos or Garcia, guys with very little to no experience, could hurt his team in a pennant race.
“(Castellanos) is in a situation where he swings the bat very well, sure like any young player, he’ll have to go through the development stage as a hitter and make adjustments at the major league level. But a pennant race is less forgiving on some of the other learning experiences that he has,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski was also quick to point out that the Tigers are playing rather well with the right-handed left fielder that they have.
“(Matt) Tuiasosopo has done very well for us from the right handed side out there, (Andy) Dirks hasn’t had as good of a year, so in that situation (Castellanos) is a right handed hitter so he takes away from the Tuiasospo situation.”
Bottom line, unless Castellanos learns to hit from the left side, you won’t see him this season in the Comerica Park leftfield or any other major league stadium.
Castellanos, entering Tuesday was hitting .280 with 13 homers and 58 RBI in Triple A Toledo while Garcia hit .241 in 30 games with the Tigers this season.