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Nicholas A. Castellanos
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 210 lb.
- High School Archbishop McCarthy High School
- Debut September 1, 2013
Certainly one of the most celebrated draft picks in Detroit Tigers' history, Nicholas Castellanos was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He has been a solid (though not spectacular) minor-league performer prior to joining the Tigers organization.
Originally a third baseman, Castellanos played for the US when they won Gold at the 2009 Junior Pan American Games. He led his school to a state title in 2010, then was chosen by the Detroit Tigers 44th in the 2010 draft. The pick was compensation for Detroit's loss of Brandon Lyon to free agency. It was Detroit's first choice that year, having lost a prior pick due to their signing Jose Valverde. He was signed by scout Rolando Casanova and made his pro debut that summer, going 8 for 24 with 2 doubles and 4 walks for the 2010 GCL Tigers.
Castellanos was named winner of the Larry Doby Award as Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Futures Game. Starting at DH for the U.S. team, he went 3 for 4 with a walk, scored three times and drove in 3 runs on a home run off Julio Rodriguez in the 6th inning. The U.S. won the game handily, 17-5.
The Tigers' top prospect in 2013, Castellanos played the outfield for the Toledo Mud Hens, hitting .276/.343/.450 with 37 doubles, 18 homers and 76 RBI in 134 games before being called up to Detroit when rosters expanded on September 1st. He credited minor league coach Gene Roof for helping him learn to play the outfield. He made his debut on the day of his call-up pinch-hitting for Don Kelly in the 7th inning of a scoreless game against the Cleveland Indians; he flew out to right against Nick Hagadone then stayed in the game as the Tigers' left fielder. He grounded out in the 9th to finish 0 for 2. Overall, he went 5 for 18 (.278) in 11 games for the Tigers. After the season the Tigers traded 1B Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers, which in turn meant that 3B Miguel Cabrera would return to first base and that third base was now open for Castellanos to claim as his own in 2014.
Castellanos played 148 games for the Tigers in 2014, hitting .259 with 11 homers and 66 RBIs. It was solid production for a 22-year-old rookie, but Tigers fans were disappointed as they had expected something closer to his brilliant minor league numbers. In the postseason, he went 1 for 10 in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, his only hit being a solo homer off Wei-Yin Chen in a 7-6 loss in Game 2 on October 3rd. His sophomore season in 2015 was very similar to his rookie year, as he played 154 games, hitting .255 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs. After a 96 OPS+ as a rookie, he brought the number slightly up to 98. He did take a big step forward in 2016 when after 105 games, he was hitting .286 with 18 homers and 58 RBIs. However, on August 6th, he suffered a fracture in his hand when hit by a pitch, putting him out of action for a month at a time when the Tigers were making a run at first place in the AL East. He only played another 5 games after his return in September and the team missed the playoffs.
Heading into 2017, he indicated that he wanted to be called by his full birth name. He had generally been known as "Nick" until then.
His brother Ryan Castellanos has pitched in the pro ranks.
- 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- AL Triples Leader (2017)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (2017)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (2019)
- Bob Nightengale: "Nick Castellanos gets last laugh as he exposes the flaws of analytics in Cubs' deadline coup", USA Today, August 29, 2019.