On July 22, I posted this article right here on this very site stating my preference for the Cubs to not trade with the Tigers for Nicholas Castellanos. My main concern was his defense in right field.
I have often written that when I’m wrong, I’ll admit it, and this article is my admission of wrong on the Castellanos trade.
Castellanos has played in seven games for the Cubs since the trade July 31 for minor-league pitchers Paul Richan and Alex Lange. He’s started five games in right field and two in left field. In those seven games, he’s hit .379/.400/.690 (11-for-29) with six doubles and a home run.
That’s a small sample size, but it certainly appears he feels comfortable at the plate in his new uniform. Castellanos has now played 10 career games at Wrigley Field (six as a Cub, four as a Detroit Tiger), and is hitting .405/.444/.857 (17-for-42) with seven doubles and four home runs. Looks like he’s found a ballpark he likes hitting in, after saying some not-nice words about Comerica Park:
“This park is a joke,” he said. “It’s to the point where how are we going to be compared to the rest of the people in the league in terms of power numbers, OPS, slugging and all that stuff when we got a yard out here that’s 420 feet straight across center field?
”I mean, they can move in center and right-center field. There’s no reason I hit a ball 434 feet off (Nationals right-hander) Anibal Sanchez and it goes in the first row. That shouldn’t happen. But, I’m not in charge of that, either.”
Castellanos isn’t into analytics, either:
New #Cubs outfielder Nick Castellanos isn't a sabermetrics guy: "I'm not a guy that looks at video. I don't really know what my launch angle is. The only thing I'm trying to do is hit this ball really hard. And whatever is going to happen is going to happen."— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) August 7, 2019
What has happened in his seven games with the Cubs is some very good hitting and some energy given to what has appeared, at times, to be a somewhat low-energy ballclub. That’s a good thing.
About his defense... it’s been all right. In right field, Castellanos appears more to surround baseballs rather than just catch them, but he hasn’t made any egregiously bad plays. Jason Heyward in center has had to cover a bit more ground because Castellanos’ range isn’t what you’d typically want from a right fielder. It seems to be working, so far, anyway.
With the caveat that we’re still in small sample size territory with Castellanos, I’ll freely admit I was wrong about not wanting him as a Cub. The trade, to date, has been well worth it. Some people have said to me, “Sign him!”, about the soon-to-be free agent. I think it’s still a bit early to think about that, but it does seem clear that Nicholas Castellanos has helped give a badly-needed boost to the Cubs offense. I was wrong, and I’m glad he’s here.