They say that a fresh start can pay off when a player gets stagnant with the same team. Just look at Justin Verlander. He looked like he was aging with the Detroit Tigers, but then a trade deadline move to the Houston Astros in 2017 brought him back to life, and once again, Verlander is one of the most electric arms in the game. The same can be said for Nicholas Castellanos. Since the Chicago Cubs acquired him from the Tigers at the July 31 trade deadline, the 27-year old has emerged as one of the Cubbies best hitters.
Castellanos was experiencing a down year in Detroit, hitting .273 in 100 games, with just 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. Since the trade to Chicago, he’s hitting an outstanding .375 with eight home runs in just 23 games. The new Cubs right fielder is also slugging a mind-boggling .708. Castellanos has brought an exciting upbeat energy to the Cubs clubhouse.
He looks like he’s actually having fun playing baseball again, because in his last days in Detroit, Castellanos frankly didn’t look happy at all. It was time for a change, and the fact that he got traded to a contender looks to have fueled the fire in his belly. New league, no problem. Castellanos has had no issue adjusting to new arms in the National League.
Adding a Spark to the Cubs Lineup
It only took about nine games to know that Chicago had a very special hitter in their lineup that will help them make the postseason. Castellanos reached safely in his first nine contests, with four of them being multi-hit games. He has also scored 19 runs in a Cubs uniform through just 23 games. Without a doubt, Castellanos has been Chicago’s best hitter in August. It’s clear that Cubs fans are loving their new right fielder as well. In 53 at-bats on home soil, Castellanos is hitting .415.
Playing in a stadium like Comerica Park, which is extremely pitcher-friendly, wasn’t exactly helping his home run numbers either. Now with the opportunity to play at Wrigley Field in the heart of summer, when there isn’t as much wind compared to the spring, Castellanos can hit more home runs. That’s a big reason why he has almost tied his home run total of 11 with still a month of regular season baseball to go.
It’s hard to really enjoy the game when your team is losing every day. That was becoming a trend in Detroit, so it’s understandable why Castellanos is so happy to be with a contender. You can tell how pumped up he is to be with the Cubs just by this four-second GIF:
Nick Castellanos is how we all feel rn pic.twitter.com/8e65V9fb9F
Cubs Should Sign Him Long-Term
Castellanos will become a free agent after this season, but given his immediate impact on the Cubs, they should definitely look at locking him up long-term. He can definitely be a starter in either left or right field for the foreseeable future. Jason Heyward is aging and fits better in center field, and if the Cubs really need Kyle Schwarber‘s bat in the lineup, Joe Maddon will find a way to get him in.
Just 23 games into Castellanos’ career in a Cubs uniform, he’s already adding a huge boost to a lineup that was really struggling. Imagine if he can actually spend a full season with the Cubbies. Castellanos has always been a relatively productive hitter with a career .273 average, but he could reach new heights in Chicago.
Castellanos is a Scott Boras client, so he could demand a lot of money. But if he continues to smash baseballs and prove to be instrumental during crunch time in postseason play, I would say he will deserve whatever type of contract he wants.
For now, though, the focus is to actually make the playoffs. It’s a tight race in the National League Central, so a Wild Card spot could be a possibility for the Cubs if they can’t win the division.
Regardless of what happens with Chicago’s playoff fate, the impact Nick Castellanos has had on this offense is very fun to watch.