Nick Castellanos Lands In Cincinnati, Creating A Must Buy Opportunity

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Nick Castellanos didn’t have to wait as long as many of the free agents did a year ago, though one of the bigger names left on the board finally found a home.  Landing a 4-year, $64 million contract (with a mutual option on a fifth year) with the Cincinnati Reds, you can argue that this was a best case scenario for fantasy owners.  While he hasn’t always had the biggest numbers, getting out of Detroit last season appeared to unlock his full potential.  Just look at the numbers:

TeamPAAVGHRRBIR
Tigers439.273113757
Cubs225.321163643

There are two key questions that need to be answered:

  1. Can he maintain the power surge?
  2. Can his average come reasonably close to his mark in Chicago?

Clearly getting out of Detroit unlocked the power potential that he had.  Castellanos’ HR/FB spiked from 9.2% to 23.2% after the trade, and while that number may be inflated it’s not unreasonable.  It’s no surprise that there was additional power in his bat, including 104 doubles over the past two seasons (with a league high 58 last season, joining only Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts as those with 50+ last season and only five players who have had 50+ over the past five years).

There’s no question that Cincinnati is a far more favorable home ballpark, so seeing a continued development is likely.  Maybe it won’t be at last year’s pace, but would a 30+ HR season be surprising?

As for the average, he’s posted a Hard% of 42.7% of better for three straight seasons.  That helps to support an elevated BABIP, as does his willingness to use the entire field (though his Oppo% did take a step backwards post-trade, going from 28.5% to 22.3%) and the expected power surge.  The question is how much his questionable approach is going to hurt him:

  • SwStr% – 13.9%
  • O-Swing% – 40.9%

Those numbers aren’t out-of-line with his career marks (14.2% and 36.5%, respectively), and he owns a career strikeout rate of 23.0%.  With the bulk of the numbers pointing in his favor, another .280+ season is a fair expectation.

Now you put that in the middle of a suddenly impressive lineup, where RBI could be plentiful (though runs scored may not be, assuming he’s hitting fifth) and it all comes together perfectly.  A .280/30/95 season could be in the cards, placing him among the Top 20 outfielders in the league and creating a perfect opportunity.

Source – Fangraphs

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