Batter’s Box: Nick Blastellanos

Scott Chu provides fantasy advice and insight on Wednesday's top batters.

In a year full of guys who have seem to broken through (Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Josh Bell, Pete Alonso, etc.), Nick Castellanos (OF, Detroit Tigers) has yet to break out—though he did manage to put up a nice performance in Tuesday’s doubleheader (5-10, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB). Through his first five full MLB seasons, we’ve seen glimpses of the hit and power tools that tantalized scouts while he went through the minor leagues and that has given us hope that there might be a 30 home run season in his bat; however, it wasn’t until 2017 that he broke the 20 home run threshold. Castellanos’s batting average seems to have settled nicely. He has consecutive seasons of .285, .272 and .298 with a solid .283 average so far in 2019. That said, to justify his place in drafts as a top 25-to-30 outfielder in drafts, he has to hit for power, which just hasn’t happened yet. He can probably still provide decent value to players in need of batting average, as his propensity for line drives should help keep sustain an average north of .275.

Castellanos is just 27-years-old, so I’m sure those of you in keeper and dynasty formats are wondering what to do with this former top prospect who is starting to get to the end of the “prime” years of his career. Many, I’m sure, are looking for Castellanos to get traded. After all, his high batting average and moderate power are somewhat wasted in the wimpy Tigers lineup as there are rarely runners on base for him to drive in and he plays in one of the larger ballparks in baseball. That said I would like to challenge that concept from a fantasy perspective (in real life, the Tigers should absolutely move him). Despite the large dimensions of Comerica Park, it’s actually a friendly venue for hitters (and particularly righties) due to the batter’s eye.

We don’t talk about this much when discussing park factors, but two different articles have done a great job discussing how the batter’s eye offers an advantage. The first, which can be found here, provides a nice breakdown of why a batter’s eye is important along with then-active players discussing specific parks and features that help or hinder their ability to see the ball. The second is by MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, who spoke with players and used Statcast data to show that while some deep drives are more likely to be outs or doubles than home runs due to the deep center field, players still hit for a better average and slugging percentage in Comerica and the dark green backdrop may play a big role.

The numbers seem to bear out this advantage. Here are the ballpark factors from RotoGrinders:


As you can see, Castellanos benefits from the dimensions in Comerica when it comes to doubles and triples, which probably explains why he routinely posts strong doubles and triples totals despite being a rather slow runner.

While Castellanos would likely slightly boost his home run totals in another park for another team, and maybe even his counting stats, I don’t think it would be as dramatic as others might believe. Not only is Comerica a hitting-friendly park, but his spot in the heart of the order gives him at least a little bit of an opportunity to drive in runners and helps him get more trips to the plate. Should he be moved to a contender, I doubt he’d occupy such an ideal lineup spot. In conclusion, while I expect Castellanos to be traded, don’t be mistaken about how much it will “boost” his value. There’s a very real chance that a change in venue would be neutral or even detrimental to his numbers (well, besides home runs).


Ryan Cordell (OF, Chicago White Sox)—4-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 2B, 5 RBI. He’s worked his way into a semi-regular role for the White Sox and has a little bit of power and speed to work with. That said his plate discipline is not promising and I doubt he holds much value outside of AL-only formats.

Victor Caratini (C, Chicago Cubs)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. He’s slashing .298/.372/.524 in his 94 plate appearances this season, which ain’t too shabby for a backstop. Unfortunately, he’s playing behind Wilson Contreras and is unlikely to see any meaningful playing time from a fantasy perspective unless there’s an injury or he’s traded. Should that happen, he might be worth a look in 2-catcher formats.

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The 29 home runs are impressive, sure, but what’s even more exciting is his growth at the plate. His 14.7% walk rate is outstanding, and his matching 14.7% strikeout rate is the icing on the very delicious cake. Were it not for Christian Yelich being somehow even more remarkable, he’d be the clear-cut NL MVP.

Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox)—3-9, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. The walk rate may not ever come back to the double-digits (the White Sox’ philosophy does not seem to favor walks), but don’t fret. The increased aggression on pitches towards the edge of the zone continues to pay off. He’ll flirt with 30 home runs and 15 steals if all continues to go well, along with a .280+ batting average and .340+ OBP.

Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. It’ll be a bit of a stretch for him to get to 20 steals for the third consecutive season at his current pace, but everything else is just so darn good. He’s hitting the ball over the fence at a nice rate and will once again threaten to break the 40 home run mark.

Ramon Laureano (OF, Oakland Athletics)—2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. After a rough 5-game stretch, Laureano has put together three straight games with an extra-base hit and is now hitting .271 with 8 home runs and 6 steals since the start of June. My arch-nemesis Daniel Port wrote a nice piece on Laureano a little while ago that you should check out if you’re somehow still on the fence about the Oakland outfielder.

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, Baltimore Orioles)—2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. His 30 home run pace with a .240 batting average would be more interesting if he: (a) wasn’t an Oriole and (b) if literally everyone else wasn’t doing the exact same thing.

Hunter Renfroe (OF, San Diego Padres)—3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s now at 25 home runs through just 77 games and can make a legitimate push for 40 or more by the end of September. He’s also stolen 4 bases so far and is walking at a respectable rate, which helps raise his fantasy floor.

Melky Cabrera (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. His playing time is too sporadic for most formats, but those in NL-only or deep 15-teamers should consider adding him if they need a batting average boost.

Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants)—3-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB. When healthy, he hits for solid power, takes walks, and doesn’t strike out. The problem is that “when healthy” is a rather rare circumstance. Managers in deep 12-team or 15-team formats can scoop him up to plug into their corner infield or utility spot, but be ready to replace him should he run into health issues.

Luis Arraez (2B, Minnesota Twins)—3-5, R. I don’t know much about him, but my colleague Ben Pernick does and he did a wonderful job writing him up. GO check it out while you’re on a boat today.

Yasiel Puig (OF, Cincinnati Reds)—2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s hitting .283/.340/.572 over the last two months with 15 home runs and nine stolen bases. Anyone who thinks he’s having a down year is sorely mistaken, and it won’t be long before that miserable April stops dragging down his season-long numbers.

(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

3 responses to “Batter’s Box: Nick Blastellanos”

  1. AC says:

    Scott, thoughts on Austin Meadows in the second half? He’s newly available in my 10 team H2H categories (OBP instead of AVG) league. My current OF (we start 5, with a UT spot) are Yelich, JD Martinez, Conforto, Yordan, Laureano & Soler, and I could use more speed.

    Hope you’re enjoying the 4th!

  2. Hairstyles says:

    great points altogether, you just gained a brand new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made some days ago? Any positive?

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