Castellanos still a long way off, in skipper’s mind
Ever since the news broke that prized position prospect Nick Castellanos, the MVP of last week’s Futures Game, was working in the outfield, the countdown clock started ticking for some folks, measuring just how soon he’ll be in a Tigers uniform.
Blocked at third base for the foreseeable future by Miguel Cabrera, it made sense to teach him a new position, if the plan was to fast-track him to the majors.
In Leyland’s mind, though, expecting him to contribute this year is pretty far-fetched.
“I have no idea. That would be probably a surprise to me. That’s an awful big jump. Particularly now that he’s playing the outfield. But he’s one of those special guys. I wouldn’t put anything past him,” the veteran manager said. “Right now, that would be on the back burner for me.”
And making any sort of assessment of his ability to play the outfield, based on one week’s worth of games, hardly makes sense, either.
“Well, you know. If he’s hittin’, he’ll look like a pretty good outfielder,” Leyland joked. “I think it’s unfair — it’s unfair to the kid, it’s unfair to anybody else, it’s unfair to the instructors, everybody else — to say after three or four days. How much can you tell in three or four days? I mean can he catch a fly ball? Yeah. I can catch a fly ball. But what you’re talking about, that’s not fair to the kid. Let’s let that take its course, see what happens.”
Castellanos started for Erie in right field Monday night, and hit one of the Sea Wolves’ four home runs in the game. He’s hitting .301 in his 33 games at Double-A, with five home runs and 17 RBI.