Each Wednesday timberrattlers.com will countdown the top 20 seasons by a Timber Rattler until #1 is revealed on August 29th. This week: #9
John Castellano 2001
.334 batting average, 59 runs, 126 hits, 34 doubles, 14 home runs, 81 rbi's, 13 stolen bases
Probably the most unlikely of the players to make the top 20, John Castellano was originally a 66th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997. After two seasons with the Dodgers, the Indian River Community College product was released prior to the 2000 season. He hooked on with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League and proceeded to hit .330 over 330 at bats. This caught the eye of a Mariners scout looking for catching depth in the organization, and earned him another shot in affiliated ball.
John made his first appearance as a Timber Rattler on April 19th of the 2001 season. Entering the game as a pinch hitter, Castellano laced a two run double. He struggled through May, hitting .236, but as the weather warmed up, so did the New York native. He had an amazing August, hitting .435 with 13 doubles, 5 homers, and 20 RBI. Splitting time between first base, catcher, and designated hitter, John hit .355 on the road for the season. His .334 overall batting average is the best in team history, as is his .536 slugging percentage. He is one of only seven players to knock in 80 or more runs in a season and his 34 doubles are tied for the 5th most by a Timber Rattler.
Castellano spent the majority of the 2002 season with San Bernardino, hitting .335, then repeating the California League in 2003 with Inland Empire, hitting .306. After signing with the Phillies as a free agent, John hit .340 with a career high 18 homers for Double A Reading in 2004. Castellano is a career .309 hitter in the minors, but never got a call to the Majors.
Previously on the countdown:
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.