Castellanos named Tigers Rookie of the Year
The Tigers used 18 rookies this season. They had one logical choice for Tigers Rookie of the Year. On Wednesday, members of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association selected Nick Castellanos for the honor.
After back-to-back seasons with partial-year players earning the honor — midseason trade acquisition Jose Iglesias won it last year after in-season call-up Quintin Berry had it in 2012 — Castellanos gave the Tigers their first everyday rookie for a full season since Austin Jackson took over center field in 2010. Castellanos had his expected ups and downs, both at the plate and in the field, but ended up playing a big role in Detroit’s fourth consecutive division title.
The Tigers drafted Castellanos out of high school in the first round in 2010, but struggled to find a spot for him at the big leagues until Prince Fielder’s trade to Texas last fall allowed Miguel Cabrera to move from third to first. That opened up the hot corner for Castellanos, who had moved from third to the outfield a year earlier.
Offensively, Castellanos held his own, batting .259 with 31 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .700 OPS. Only White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Reds speedster Billy Hamilton had more base hits among Major League rookies, while only Abreu drove in more runs.
Castellanos had his expected rookie struggles with strikeouts, 140 of them in 533 at-bats. With just 36 walks, he posted a .306 on-base percentage that ranked 25th-lowest among Major League hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title.
Yet when Castellanos connected, the beauty in his swing became evident. He posted a 28.5 percent line-drive rate that led all AL hitters, trailing only Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman in the Majors.
Defensively, Castellanos’ minus-30 rating on Defensive Runs Saved ranked last among all Major League position players, while his negative-18.4 Ultimate Zone Rating ranked next to last, despite a year’s worth of work with infield coach Omar Vizquel. The Tigers are looking for improvement with another offseason of training on footwork and other fundamentals.
Castellanos becomes the first third baseman to win Tigers Rookie of the Year honors since Scott Livingstone in 1992. He’ll be presented with his award before a Tigers home game next season.