NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   3B
Home: N/A Team:   TIGERS
Height: 6' 4" Bats:   R
Weight: 210 Throws:   R
DOB: 3/4/1992 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 9  
Birth City: Davie, Florida
Draft: Tigers #1 (comp.) - 2010 - Out of high school (FL)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2010 GCL GCL-Tigers   7 24 5 8 2 0 0 3 0 1 4 5 .414 .417 .333
2011 MWL WEST MICHIGAN   135 507 65 158 36 3 7 76 3 2 45 130 .367 .436 .312
2012 EL ERIE   79 322 35 85 15 1 7 25 5 4 14 76 .296 .382 .264
2012 FSL LAKELAND   55 215 37 87 17 3 3 32 3 2 22 42 .461 .553 .405
2013 AL TIGERS   11 18 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .278 .278 .278
2013 IL TOLEDO   134 533 81 147 37 1 18 76 4 1 54 100 .343 .450 .276
2014 AL TIGERS $500.00 148 533 50 138 31 4 11 66 2 2 36 140 .306 .394 .259
2015 AL TIGERS $525.00 154 549 42 140 33 6 15 73 0 3 39 152 .303 .419 .255
2016 AL TIGERS $537.00 110 411 54 117 25 4 18 58 1 1 28 111 .331 .496 .285
Personal
  • Nick's last name is NOT pronounced Cas-tell-anos, no matter how much the spelling suggests it is.

    "It's pretty simple, just the double L's are a Y," he said. "So, cast-ay-AH-nos."

  • Castellanos grew up in South Florida as a Marlins fan, idolizing Miguel Cabrera. And now they are teammates.

  • Nick spent  his first two years of high school at American Heritage High School in South Florida, where he played with 2008 Royals first-round pick Eric Hosmer and 2012 Red Sox first-rounder Deven Marrero on a team that won the 2008 national title.

    He then played his final two seasons at Archbishop McCarthy High in Southwest Ranches, Florida, which won the 2011 national championship the year after he left.

    In 2010, Nick's senior year at Archbishop McCarthy, he committed to the University of Miami on a baseball scholarship.

    That season, Nick hit .542  with six home runs, 41 RBIs, 34 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. He was honored as the Gatorade Florida Baseball Player of the Year and competed with the 18-and-Under squad for USA Baseball that won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela in the fall of 2009.

  • Nick's mother's family is from Detroit. Her Dad, Leonard Beard, is a retired Detroit firefighter. A Michigander at heart, he passed on his Tigers ties to his daughter, Castellanos' mother. He is also clearly a Michigander in voice, sounding like a one-man cheering section.

    "That's my grandfather," Castellanos said. "He's got enough to sound like 10 people."

  • June 2010: Nick was the Tigers first round-compensation pick in the draft, out of Archbishop High School in Florida. He slid to the 44th pick because of reports that he was going to demand $6 million to sign.

    Then Casetellanos signed with scout Rolando Casnova for a bonus of $3.45 million just before the August 16 deadline, passing up a scholarship to the University of Miami.

  • In the springs of both 2011 and 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Castellanos as the second-best prospect in the Tigers' farm system. They moved Nick up to the #1 prospect in the Tigers organization in the springs of both 2013 and 2014.

  • In August 2013, Nick and his fiancee Vanessa Hernandez had a son.
  • Nick has family members who worked for Chrysler and General Motors in Michigan. He spent summers as a kid along the lake shores of Michigan before baseball became a year-round pursuit.  (Beck - mlb.com 2/26/14)

  • Michelle Castellanos looked up at the Tiger statues near the entrance to Comerica Park and cried. She did a lot of that on Opening Day. She thought she was ready for it, getting the chance to watch her oldest son, Nick, take the field in the big leagues to start a season. He was realizing the dream he told her about when he was 5 years old. All the years of picking up bats around the house, those mornings where she'd shake her head because young Nick would sleep with a bat, all came back to her.

    But it's also Detroit's Opening Day. And she grew up a Detroiter, in a family that has generations of Detroiters. She brought her family up to Michigan nearly every summer for vacation. And they had several generations there to watch Nick Castellanos starting at third base for the Tigers.

    It became a whole lot bigger than his dream. As the Castellanos walked into Comerica Park on that chilly April morning, it was much more than just Nick's day. "It was extraordinary, I have to tell you," she said. "I was very excited. You have anticipation, you have anxiety, you have fear, you have joy, and you have it all tied into a moment. And you just hope that moment can go well.

    "I think on one level it would've happened for me if he was on any team. But for it to be my hometown. ... My family has been Tiger fans 50, 60 years, some of them. To get all together, wearing Tigers shirts, this just doesn't happen. My dad is a Detroit firefighter. My family is ingrained in that city."

    It took an awful lot to realize that dream. And as Castellanos fully appreciates, it wouldn't have happened without her support. "She's been there from Day 1," he said, "from when I played Tee-ball in Miami Lakes Optimists to when I made my Opening Day in the big leagues, taking me all over God's green earth to play in all these tournaments and stuff. Without the help of her and the help of my dad, I wouldn't be here today."

    If a parent's job is supporting a child's dream, the Castellanos family did not have to wait long for him to find his direction. Nick wasn't even in school yet when he told his mom he wanted to be a big league ballplayer. He was younger than that when she realized how much he loved the game.

    "The kid's first word was 'ball.' I kid you not," she said in a phone conversation earlier this week. "And he just had such an affinity for the game. We had many other things around him to play, but he was always drawn to that. He slept with a bat. I always remembered that."  (Beck - mlb.com - 5/9/14) 

  • Nick's younger brother, Ryan, was interested in baseball too. The family garage became a makeshift batting cage, with the family cars parked outside. When they moved, they tore up part of their new backyard to put in a cage.

    When they weren't going to games or shuttling the kids to practice, they were throwing batting practice, at least at the start. Nick's mother's days as a BP tosser ended once Nick smacked a comebacker that left a mark. That also might have been the time Michelle and Jorge Castellanos realized they had a talent on their hands.

    "I had the seams of the baseball stuck in the side of my gut," she said. "I think that was probably in junior high." She was tough, and not just taking line drives. She was the disciplinarian in the family, Nick recalls, and he took the brunt of it when his grades didn't keep up with his athletic pursuits.

    "I would say a bad report card was the worst trouble I got into with my mom," he said. "A lot of yelling, a lot of stuff being taken away. Junior high, I got a little lackadaisical in school, just because I knew that nothing really mattered until high school. So seventh grade, I got into a little trouble with my parents with grades. By high school, I was pretty good."  (5/9/14)

  • Nick's mother is a teacher. She has spent her career in education, including 14 years in the classroom. She knew Nick's talent, but she also knew he needed a backup plan. When they agreed to let Nick follow his dreams, it came with conditions.

    "I'm an educator by trade," she said, "so I was very involved in academics. My role was always that the kids look out for school. Yeah, it was a privilege and an honor to do some of the things that he did, and there are responsibilities that go with that.

    "It was hard to balance them out, then when you realize that he does have a gift. You realize that, and then it became a balancing act. He had to stay focused on finishing his tasks first."

    That became a regular message she delivered as the scouting reports rolled in and the publicity followed. Nick had a gift, one that could carry him to his dreams, but he had a responsibility that goes with it—to himself, to others, to the community. As long as he lived up to his responsibilities, his parents were always there on the other end. If he didn't, Michelle would make sure he knew about it.

    The way Nick carries himself reflects that, the discipline, the work ethic, the approach. When the Tigers drafted him with their first pick in 2010, Michelle watched her son make the difficult choice between two dreams, knowing what a college education would mean, but also knowing what her son becoming a Tiger would mean to her family back home.

    The house is an empty nest for now, with Nick up in Detroit, Ryan playing college ball at the University of Illinois, and their younger sister Jackie heading off to college. (5/9/14)

  • The Tigers have a history of making draft picks within the family as the rounds pile up. Rarely, however, does a family member have a chance to announce the pick.

    When Detroit used its 25th-round selection on Nova Southeastern University righthander Ryan Castellanos, it decided to bring his brother into the draft room to make the call himself. Nick took a break from his preparations for that night's game against the Cubs to break the news. It was a cool moment for a family that already has built a lot of Tigers ties."I know my mom is really excited," Nick said. "She's probably more happy than the day I got drafted, because I was supposed to get drafted. My brother, we really didn't know what was going to happen."Her side of the family, including a retired Detroit firefighter, hails from Michigan.

    Together, they've had a chance to watch Nick at Comerica Park on a regular basis over the past year and a half. Meanwhile, Ryan had been trying to build his pitching career, first at the University of Illinois for two seasons, then closer to their home at Nova Southeastern University (known for producing J.D. Martinez) in Fort Lauderdale."He's only been pitching for three years, just out of his senior year [in high school]," Nick said. "He ended up getting a pretty decent scholarship to the University of Illinois.

    He pitched there for two years, transferred, got a full ride at Nova Southeastern University, J.D.'s old college, got first-team All-Conference and was the ace of the staff, really. And only pitching three years, so he's still learning how to pitch himself, really."He's still tinkering with his mechanics, so he can come to a professional organization and get really good hands-on coaching every day. Who knows how good he can be?"Ryan Castellanos went 9-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 starts in 2015. "He throws a lot of strikes," Nick said. "One thing he's really good at is pounding the strike zone. He doesn't walk a lot of people. And other than that, he's still learning as a pitcher himself, because he's only pitched for three years since his senior year in high school." (Beck - mlb.com - 6/10/15).

  • February 27, 2017: The Tigers announced Castellanos will now be going by his birth name, “Nicholas”, in all official ways, including when he is introduced to bat, listed on a scoresheet, or in any other pre or post game references.

    TRANSACTIONS

    January, 2017: Nick and the Tigers avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $3 million contract for 2017.

Batting
  • A pure hitter, Castellanos' bat is his best tool. He has long arms that allow him great extension, leverage and natural loft in his powerful stroke. He has naturally loose, wristy actions. His pretty swing is very sound, fundamentally. It is short, fluid, quick and compact.

    He displays excellent opposite-field power. Yep, he has a real penchant for driving the ball to right-center field.

  • Nick doesn't wear batting gloves.
  • In the spring of 2013, Baseball America rated Castellano's tools. He got a 70 for his bat, with 55 for power. His speed is just 40, while his defense is 50 and his arm is 55—all on the 20-80 scouting scale.
  • Some scouts question Nick's ability to hit breaking balls, saying they've seen too much swing-and-miss to be a plus-hitter. And as with most tall hitters with long arms, inside fastballs are hard for Castellanos to hit. He strikes out a lot because he chases pitches out of the zone.

    But others think he will hit .290 to .310, and most everyone agrees he will hit at least 20-25 home runs per season. His natural power is to right-center.

  • Castellanos has very good pitch recognition. His hitting instincts are impressive. He lets the ball travel deep. And his bat head stays in the zone a long time.

    In 2011 and 2012, he showed an improved approach, making in-game adjustments and staying inside the ball better.

    "It's not a great approach,” one AL scout said in 2012. “He’s got that hand thing, there’s no stride, but he’s just barreling them up. He’s driving balls when he wants to, and he goes the other way. He has some kind of hand-eye coordination, barrel awareness, everything."

  • Nick barrels up the ball and is learning to pull more pitches and put some backspin on the ball. He uses the opposite field well. His natural power stroke carries the ball to right-center field.

    Hefinishes his slight uppercut stroke with a high finish and generates plenty of loft with good feel for the barrel. He starts his swing by dropping his hands, but his above-average bat speed and compact stroke allow him to catch up to good velocity.

    "He's got the ability to barrel up a ball. That’s a gift. He’s really a smart hitter. He knows himself and he knows how to put the barrel on the ball,” Tigers farm director Dave Owen said. “The power is in there. He’s got a great body to grow into. He’ll get a lot stronger as he continues to mature and grow up. There is already juice in the bat.”

  • Castellanos gets himself out by not being selective enough. He barrels the ball consistently but is vulnerable to sliders low and away.
  • This righty batter does a fine job of hitting lefthanded pitching.

    "My Dad is a lefthanded thrower," Castellanos explained. "He pitched to me lefthanded, so I grew up hitting against lefthanders. That's why I think I have an inside-out swing and I hit the ball the other way so well, because in order to have success off lefties, you have to hit it right back where it came from, and that's the other way.

    "My batting practice, even when I was little growing up, everything was the other way, the other way, and that's why I think I'm able to do that well now."

  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Castellanos's career Major League stats were: .265 batting average, 44 home runs and 400 hits, with 197 RBI in 1,511 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Nick has good hands at third base. He needs to improve his footwork so that he can have average range. But he is still adequate at the hot corner showing quick actions.
  • Castellanos has a very strong and accurate arm. While there is length to his arm strike, his throws have good carry.
  • At third base, he can come in really well on balls hit in front of him. He moves well at third base, except for somewhat stiff actions and was often too timid on balls, often getting caught in between hops. With Nick, there is nothing fancy, but he plays well enough to stay a third baseman. (His bat will have to carry him, though.)
  • In July 2012, the Tigers moved Castellanos from third base to right field. He is still learning to read balls off the bat and to take clean routes on flyballs. But he is going to be an average outfielder defensively.
  • In 2013, he played left field and became comfortable out there. His arm is not strong enough to play right field on a regular basis.

    Nick has learned to remain focused on every pitch while playing the outfield.

  • Castellanos moved back to third base in the spring of 2014. With the offseason trade of Prince Fielder, which shifts Miguel Cabrera to first base, Castellanos will return to third, where he projects as a fringy but playable defender.

    Nick had to relearn, well, everything at the hot corner.

    "The reaction time is huge, because you’re used to coming from the outfield where you have to stop and read balls before you (react),” he said. “When you’re back on the infield, everything’s instinct. Just getting back to being able to react as soon as the ball is off the bat, just getting back into that.

    “My fundamentals are there,” Castellanos said. “That’s the part that’s more like riding the bike. Catching a groundball is like riding a bike. But then your routine—your setup, everything—that stuff you need game repetition. You can take fungoes all you want, but you really can’t replicate game situations.”

    Castellanos is getting some great assistance this spring from Omar Vizquel. He was hired by Brad Ausmus in the offseason to fill multiple roles, including coaching infielders. And the 11-time Gold Glove shortstop had worked closely with Castellanos throughout the spring.

    “He’s in my back pocket the whole game,” Castellanos said. “He’s helping me position myself the right way. When I make a play, he just goes over it, ‘Well, this is what you could have done. You could have taken a little bit more of this angle.’ He is just super helpful.”  (Chris Iott - March, 2014 - MLive.com)

Running
  • Nick has below average speed, but moves well for his size and runs the bases well.
Career Injury Report
  • Aug 6-Sept 27, 2016: Nick was on the DL with a fractured left hand.