Detroit Tigers rookie Nick Castellanos was a key player in the team’s decision to trade first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers over the winter. He’s a gifted hitter who the Tigers gambled would be ready to take on a full-time role as a third baseman at the Major League level. If that bet proves correct, Castellanos has intriguing upside in fantasy baseball leagues in 2014.
While his offensive game is still developing, Castellanos’ power stroke will define his fantasy contributions. Can he hit enough home runs to warrant a roster spot in standard mixed leagues?
Overview: Talented rookie and former first-round pick the Tigers inserted into their starting lineup by trading away Prince Fielder this winter.
Background: Was the No. 44 pick in the 2010 MLB amateur draft out of Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) High School. … just turned 22 years old this month and made a quick, steady rise through the minors at a young age, eventually making his MLB debut last September. … was listed as the No. 21 prospect in baseball prior to last season by both Baseball America and MLB.com. … stands at 6-4, 210 pounds and has a reputation for being a much better hitter than defender. … played in 11 games as an outfielder last season but is expected to man the hot corner on a full-time basis as Miguel Cabrera fills Fielder’s void at first base.
2013 stats: .278 avg., 0 HR, 1 run, 0 RBIs, 0 SB in 11 games.
Numbers and trends: Power began to blossom in Triple-A last season after hitting just 18 home runs in his first 300 minor league games. … hit .276 with 18 homers and 76 RBIs in 134 games at Triple-A Toledo while also lowering his strikeout rate to a career-best 16.8 percent. … still has work to do in both areas, but 2013 was a promising start for a player who started his career at 18 years old and held his own in previous stops. … had a .303 career average in the minors but profiles as a .260-type hitter early in Detroit after hitting a combined .271 in Double-A and Triple-A the last two seasons. … has been a force in spring training with a .373 average, two homers and 16 RBIs. … ranks among the league leaders in doubles (1st, seven) and 16 RBIs (T-2nd) while making consistent contact.
Strengths: Profiles as a future middle-of-the-order hitter with all-around ability and blossoming power. … is trending up in several key areas, including strikeout rate and isolated power, while continuing to show above-average patience and pitch selection. … will get an opportunity to start in one of baseball’s best overall lineups, which could enhance his value in runs and RBIs. … isn’t a threat on the basepaths, but moves well enough to steal 5-7 bases and boost his runs total.
Risk factors: Strikeouts could have a negative impact on his batting average as he adjusts as a rookie. … while he made gains as a power hitter last season, there’s no long-term trend in his home run total and there’s still risk that he doesn’t hit for enough power to atone for an average in the .250 to .260 range. … is not a strong defender at third base, and defensive struggles have potential to shorten his leash if he doesn’t hit out of the gates.
Average draft position: 221.1 ESPN; 252.0 Yahoo!
Verdict: Castellanos is a boom-or-bust option in fantasy, but has the kind of upside that warrants creating a spot at the ends of benches. There’s reason to believe he’ll hit for power, though, which he must do in order to carry his weight in fantasy. Still, is worth a flyer before his ADP in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.