The still-to-be-determined start of the 2020 MLB season has added an interesting wrinkle to fantasy baseball draft prep. We at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best possible information heading into your drafts in these unprecedented times.
Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts, in many cases, because of the delayed start to the season. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?
Today's feature focuses on new Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos.
Draft or Pass at current ADP: 87 (OF25)
Castellanos was ready to leave Detroit.
He remained a productive player during his time with the Tigers, but he took off statistically once he arrived in Chicago.
In 100 games with the Tigers, Castellanos hit .273 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and 57 runs scored through 403 at-bats.
In just under half the number of at-bats (200) when he arrived in Chicago post-MLB Trade Deadline, Castellanos hit a scorching .321 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, and 43 runs. He also hit 58 doubles in 2019, the most in the Majors by a fairly wide margin.
Castellanos enjoyed his time in the NL Central so much that he decided to stick around. The upstart Reds came calling, and Castellanos agreed to lock in a four-year, 64 million dollar deal that only locks him into his age-32 season.
Playing in a playoff race can make for a feel-good narrative about the performance of a player being acquired after the trade deadline. While Castellanos did acknowledge that he was re-energized playing on the North Side of Chicago and playing in a sold-out Wrigley Field, the division and ballpark he found himself in also made a significant difference.
Via FanGraphs, Castellanos batted balls spray chart shows a ton of power to right-center and center field. In parks like Wrigley Field or his new home, the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, those will clear the fence in the heart of the summer. But in Detroit, center field is upwards of 420 feet away, eventually transitioning back towards 365 feet. It's no secret that in the hitter-friendly parks Castellanos will be playing in this season, that the power numbers should continue to go up.
SI Fantasy's analyst Shawn Childs is quite bullish on Castellanos’ outlook for 2020:
With an ADP of 115 and a better supporting cast, Castellanos could be on the verge of a breakout season in power. His underlying stats suggest more of the same or a .280/80/25/80 player. The gamble in me wants to predict 40-plus home runs with a career-high in runs and RBI.
In a 12-team league, Castellanos is currently going off the board as the OF25, No. 87 overall in drafts. He is an early eighth rounder with 40 HR upside and a slugging percentage that's gone up every season of his career. I'll gladly take a mid-round flier on Castellanos at that price point entering the prime of his career at age 28 in his home ballpark.
READ MORE: 2020 Cincinnati Reds Fantasy Team Preview
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