NICK Nicholas CASTELLANOS
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   OF-3B
Home: N/A Team:   CUBS
Height: 6' 4" Bats:   R
Weight: 205 Throws:   R
DOB: 3/4/1992 Agent: SportsMeter
Uniform #: 6  
Birth City: Davie, FL
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 IL TOLEDO   134 533 81 147 37 1 18 76 4 1 54 100 .343 .450 .276
2013 AL TIGERS   11 18 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .278 .278 .278
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
2017 AL TIGERS $3,000.00 157 614 73 167 36 10 26 101 4 5 41 142 .320 .490 .272
2018 AL TIGERS $6,050.00 157 620 88 185 46 5 23 89 2 1 49 151 .354 .500 .298
2019 NL TIGERS $9,950.00 100 403 57 110 37 3 11 37 2 1 31 96 .328 .462 .273
2019 NL CUBS   41 170 33 57 15 0 15 33 0 1 7 43 .367 .688 .335
Today's Game Notes
  • Sept 6, 2019: Here's a riddle for you: How can a Major League Baseball player hit a home run for two different teams in two different games that are being played at the same time?

    Nicholas Castellanos has your answer.

    The Cubs' outfielder launched a solo homer off Brewers starter Zach Davies over the right-center-field wall to give Chicago a 1-0 lead in the third inning at Miller Park. Meanwhile, in Oakland, the A's and Tigers were finishing a May 19 game that was suspended after seven innings at Comerica Park due to rain.

    Castellanos was a Tiger when that game was started, and he hit a solo homer in the third inning of that contest as well.

    While the A's and Tigers were concluding that May 19 game, in Oakland, prior to the originally scheduled contest between the two teams, Castellanos went deep in Milwaukee. So he essentially homered in two games that were being played at the same time, for different teams in different cities.

    Talk about being in two places at once.

    The feat of playing in two different games simultaneously in this sense isn't unprecedented. There were at least 17 cases of this happening in the Majors between 1943 and 2008. On April 28, 2008, Ken Griffey Jr. played for the Reds against the Cardinals before that game was suspended. When it resumed that August, Griffey was playing for the White Sox.

Personal
  • Nicholas's last name is NOT pronounced Cas-tell-anos.

    "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.

  • Nicholas 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, Nicholas 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.

  • Nicholas' 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 sounds like 10 people."

  • 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 fiancée Vanessa Hernandez had a son.

  • Nicholas 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 2/26/2014)

  • 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 - 5/9/2014) 

  • Nicholas' 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."  (5/9/2014)

  • Nicholas' 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. (5/9/2014)

  • 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 - 6/10/2015).

  • 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 any other references.

  • "Just being around Nicholas, the intensity, I'm telling you, it's the same as being around J.D. Martinez," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Those two, I don't know if they hung around together, but it's the same. It's the same drive. They both have this drive. It's pretty cool.

    "Nick comes up to me about a lot of different things. We've had some good conversations. He's pretty fired up about this stuff, and that's kind of the way J.D. was. So he probably had a good mentor."

    It wasn't quite that relationship. Still, the competitiveness and baseball instincts bear resemblance, even if Martinez and Castellanos take different routes to get there. 

    "On the surface it can be similar, but the way J.D. goes about baseball and the way I go about baseball are polar opposites," Castellanos said. "I haven't done one hitting drill since I've been here. J.D. does 17 a day."

    Nevertheless, Castellanos will still gladly take the comparison.  "He just got a $110 million contract and hit [45] homers after missing a month," Castellanos said. "Absolutely I'm going to take that compliment. He's a heck of a baseball player."

    Their career paths share some common ground. Both grew up in South Florida and had lofty expectations as young hitters. While Martinez had to change organizations to find his identity as a hitter, going from Houston to Detroit, Castellanos is finding his with the team that drafted and developed him.  (Beck - mlb.com - 3/2/2018)

  • In 2018, Nick won the Tiger of the Year Award, as the most valuable player on the team.

  •  Nicholas had planned on taking his son to Six Flags over Texas during the Tigers' off-day in Arlington on August 1, 2019. Those plans changed when he received a tap on the shoulder and was summoned to Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire's office on July 31, 2019.

    Castellanos had been traded to the Cubs and was needed in St. Louis. There was the matter of giving handshakes and hugs and saying goodbye to the only organization he had known since being drafted by the Tigers nine years prior. Beyond that, though, Castellanos had to deliver the news to his son, Liam, whose sixth birthday was August 1st.

    "He was excited, but he didn't know why he was excited," Castellanos said with a laugh. "We didn't get exactly to go to Six Flags, but daddy got traded and everybody was excited. So, I think because everybody else was excited, he was excited."

    And Castellanos was also at Busch Stadium, wearing a No. 6 jersey in honor of his son's big day.  Castellanos stressed that he was willing to do whatever was asked of him by Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

    "I couldn't be happier where I'm at right now," Castellanos said, "the position the team's in, the two months of baseball coming up and just doing absolutely anything that I can to help this squad win."

    Castellanos was also informed that Six Flags Great America is about an hour's drive north of Chicago.  "True," Castellanos said.  (Bastian - mlb.com - 8/1/2019)

  • Nickname: "ARTIST"—Castellanos enjoys painting and photography in his spare time and often signs his pieces as, simply, "Artist" when he's finished.

             TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2010: Nick was the Tigers first round-compensation pick in the draft, out of Archbishop High School in Southwest Ranches, 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. He passed up a scholarship to the University of Miami.

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

  • January 11, 2019: Nick and the Tigers avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $9.9 million.

  • July 31, 2019: The Tigers traded RF Nicholas Castellanos to the Cubs for RHP Alex Lange and RHP Paul Richan.
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.

  • Nicholas doesn't wear batting gloves.

  • In 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 Nicholas' 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. He should hit 20-25 home runs per season. His natural power is to right-center, even though he hits righty.

  • 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."

  • Nicholas 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.

    He finishes 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."

  • Not since Hall of Famer Al Kaline in 1956 had a Tiger put up 25 homers, 10 triples, and 100 RBIs in the same season. Castellanos' penchant for triples has been well-documented in 2017, and with two games remaining in 2017, is the only AL player in double digits.

    Castellanos became the first home-grown Tiger, drafted/signed and developed by the organization, to post a 100-RBI season for the club since Bobby Higginson did it in 2000. The Tigers have had plenty of run-producers between, but brought in from outside the system and usually acquired in their prime, from Magglio Ordonez to Miguel Cabrera to Victor Martinez to Prince Fielder.  

    It's a reflection of the win-now mentality that guided the club for more than a decade, and the financial flexibility that allowed the pursuit of proven hitters. Those days are over. If the Tigers are to contend again, they need to develop and keep talent. Castellanos, a first-round pick in 2010 and a project with the big club the last four years, is an example.

    "It was a group effort here to get me to 100 RBIs," Castellanos said. "I didn't do it by myself."  He's just the start. The Tigers need more young run producers, which is why so much of their trade returns have been position prospects. For now, they have Castellanos. And as the Tigers embark on a rebuild and Cabrera tries to rebound from injuries, Castellanos could well be the primary run producer in their lineup.

    "I like that. I like responsibility," Castellanos said. "I'm not saying that I am the guy. Obviously, we have Miguel Cabrera on our team, and Ian Kinsler. But to come in and have that responsibility and be looked at as one of the main contributors on this team, I like that. In a way, it's almost like showing up back at my high school baseball field, batting third and having fun and just pulling for your friends."  (Beck - mlb.com - 9/29/2017)

  • December 8, 2017: Nicholas Castellanos' long-term future in the Motor City remains to be seen as the Tigers embark on a multi-year rebuilding project. In the short term, though, he's one of the reasons to keep an eye on Comerica Park.

    On a team that ranges from aging veterans whose best seasons appear to be behind them and young players who will be learning on the job in 2018, Castellanos is one of the few Tigers who falls into the sweet spot. After four seasons of figuring out how to approach big league pitching, he put together his line-drive approach and knowledge of opponents to produce his most impactful season to date.

    He's still just 25, with his 26th birthday coming in March. Moreover, go beyond his career-bests of 36 doubles, 10 triples, 26 home runs and 101 RBIs in 2017, and the metrics behind that production suggest he's capable of much more. With J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton gone, Ian Kinsler potentially soon to follow, and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez coming off injuries, the Tigers need Castellanos' production to be competitive in 2018.

    Just 11 Major League players hit more balls than Castellanos with an exit velocity of 95 mph or greater this past season, according to Statcast, and just nine players had more barreled balls. Yet, while Castellanos was one of just 12 players with at least 50 barrels in 2017, none had a lower batting average on those barrels than Castellanos, and it wasn't close. He was 34-for-51 (.667); the next-lowest average was .796 from Baltimore's Manny Machado. Similarly, while Castellanos posted a hard-hit ball rate of 45.4 percent to rank fifth among Major League hitters according to Fangraphs, his .313 batting average on balls in play was second-lowest among those top five players in hard-hit rate. Only Rangers slugger Joey Gallo (.250) had a lower mark.

    The same dichotomy appears when looking at line-drive rate, a ratio in which Castellanos has generally thrived over his career. His 24.5 percent rate according to Fangraphs ranked 10th in the Majors, but his BABIP was third-lowest among those top 10. Considering Castellanos had a better hard-hit rate in 2016 (25.6 percent) and for his career (25.2), he's capable of better. If he gets there, the production could be big.

    After four years of being a complementary hitter in a stacked, veteran Tigers lineup, Castellanos' opportunity to be part of the Tigers' core has arrived. After spending much of this season's first half batting second, sixth or seventh in the Tigers' lineup, Castellanos moved to the heart of the order after all the trades, batting third or fourth in tandem with Cabrera. He'll likely have a full season there next year, even if Cabrera and Martinez are healthy. (J Beck - MLB.com - December 8, 2017)

  • As of the start of the 2019 season, Castellanos's career Major League stats were: .274 batting average, 93 home runs and 752 hits, with 387 RBI in 2,745 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Nicholas 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.

  • In the Spring of 2014, Castellanos moved back to third base. 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.

    Nicholas 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 fun goes 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 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 Lott - March 2014 - MLive.com)

  • In 2018 for the Tigers, Castellanos played exclusively in the outfield; no games at third base.
Running
  • Nicholas has below average speed, but moves well for his size and runs the bases well.
Career Injury Report
  • August 6-September 27, 2016: Nick was on the DL with a fractured left hand.

  • April 13, 2019: Castellanos has a sprained right big toe.