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Castellanos heating up for Mud Hens
Tigers top prospect goes 3-for-5, misses cycle by a triple
05/29/2013 11:43 PM ET
Nick Castellanos is hitting .288 with 15 RBIs in 27 games in May.
Nick Castellanos is hitting .288 with 15 RBIs in 27 games in May. (Matt Burton/MiLB.com)

When Nick Castellanos made the switch from third base to left field midway through last season, the pressing question was whether his bat would be good enough to warrant the move to a less defensively valuable position.

It looked like a question that would loom even larger as he swooned late last season and got off to a modest start this spring.

After a pair of aggressive promotions, Castellanos has started to provide an emphatic answer to that question.

The Tigers' top prospect went 3-for-5, fell a triple short of the cycle and scored twice to lead a 17-hit attack Wednesday as Triple-A Toledo cruised past Charlotte, 12-4.

"Today, I felt actually really well. The whole team swung the bat well today, I think 17 hits as a team," said Castellanos, who registered his third straight multi-hit game. "You see your teammates getting theirs, it makes you confident you'll get yours. It was a lot of fun tonight."

Castellanos is finishing the month on a high note, raising his average 37 points since May 12 to .274.

MLB.com's No. 20 overall prospect opened eyes last season when he hit .405 through 55 games for Class A Advanced Lakeland. He was promoted to Double-A Erie, where he continued his hot season until he batted .183 over 31 games in August and September.

The 21-year-old Florida native took some time to find his footing against Triple-A pitching, posting a .259 average in April. His seventh three-hit game of the season gave him a .342/.444/.579 line in his last 10 games and brought his overall totals to .274/.345/.448 with six homers, 17 doubles and 25 RBIs in 54 games.

"Triple-A, it's just a different level of pitching I have to get accustomed to," said Castellanos, the 44th overall pick in the 2010 Draft. "There are certain adjustments I have to make successfully, and I'm slowly starting to make the adjustments and figure it out. Now it's just a matter of keeping it rolling like this.

"But I'm sure tomorrow I'll realize some more adjustments I have to make to be successful again. It's not just a couple games this series and I have it all figured out; baseball doesn't work like that. As soon as you've got it figured out it, you go 0-for-tomorrow. Tomorrow's a new day and you just gotta keep making adjustments."

Casetllanos said the primary adjustment he had to make involved learning pitchers' tendencies at the Minors' highest level and recalibrating his own aggressiveness at the plate.

"I'm definitely being more selective at the plate, going deeper into counts," he explained. "In the lower levels, they'll try to get ahead of you with pitches you can drive. Now, at the higher levels, they'll nibble at the corners -- still pitches you can hit but not pitches you can do real damage with. So now, even if I have to watch strike one or strike two go by, I'll wait for a pitch I can do something with rather than going up and swinging at something that's close to the plate."

Mud Hens teammate Danny Dorn also fell a triple short of the cycle on Wednesday, driving in two runs and scoring twice. Brandon Douglas went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.

Jose Alvarez (5-3) struck out nine over five innings for the win, yielding three runs on five hits and three walks.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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