Nicholas Castellanos, RF
It’s been a good week for Castellanos — including last Saturday’s game against the Royals, he has slashed .545/.565/.864 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs, leading the Tigers in most offensive categories. One of the few dangerous bats in the Detroit lineup, shutting him down could be key if the Orioles want to win the series.
A former first-round pick and top prospect — he was listed as high as 21st in the Baseball America rankings — Castellanos’ path to Major League success was complicated by poor defense and a free-swinging mentality at the plate. Still, he’s been a lineup mainstay over the past two seasons, slashing .277/.325/.493 in 1,112 plate appearances. The defensive woes have continued, and after four seasons at the hot corner, the Tigers finally decided to stash him in right field, making way for Jeimer Candelario.
As hot as he’s been over the past week, though, Castellanos didn’t fare nearly as well when he took on the Orioles earlier this month. In 13 plate appearance, he came away with only one single and one double, good for a .182 average. That stat includes an 0-for-5 performance in the travel game — on a day when Alex Cobb and Mike Wright gave up five earned runs apiece, Castellanos was the only Detroit starter not to reach base.
With any luck, this weekend’s pitchers will be similarly solid against the Tigers’ inconsistent slugger. Cobb won’t get the ball, but Gausman, Chris Tillman and Andrew Cashner will try to display the same dominance.