Analysis

Should the Phillies Claim Castellanos?

Castellanos will draw significant interest from teams while he is on the waiver wire.

Alex Castellanos at 6’0″, 200 lbs, has a career minor league triple-slash line of .288/.362/.502 including a line of .291/.382/.525 line in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Castellanos, 27, has had a few cups of coffee, amounting to 43 PA with the Dodgers between 2012 and 2013, hitting just .171/.186/.390. Castellanos is now in “DFA-limbo”, designated for assignment by the NL West champion Dodgers to make room for Mets outfielder Mike Baxter, eligible to be claimed by another Major League team. Should the Phillies be among the teams to claim the outfielder?

In short, yes. Here are a few reasons why.

The Tools: Power and Speed

Castellanos showed doubles power early in his minor league career, hitting 16, 22, and 35 doubles in his first three seasons of minor league ball. Castellanos was able to transition those doubles into homers, hitting 35 doubles again in 2011 but also hitting a career high 23 homers. Castellanos has hit 23, 17, and 19 homers in each of the last three seasons, 23 in Double-A, and 17 and 19 in Triple-A.

In addition to his power, Castellanos has been effective on the basepaths as well, stealing 20, 21, 19, 14, 16, and 19 bases in each of his six seasons in the minors, with a 76.76% success rate.  

Defensive Versatility

Castellanos was drafted as a second baseman but has become a pretty versatile outfielder. Castellanos filled in each of the last two seasons with the Dodgers in all three outfield positions. Because of his power, speed, and defense. Castellanos has routinely appeared in the Dodgers Top 20 prospects lists after being acquired in 2011 by the Dodgers in exchange for Rafael Furcal. Castellanos was a 16th in 2012 and 14th in 2013 on John Sickels’ Minor League ball Dodgers Top 20 prospects list.

Age, Cost, and Contrability

Castellanos is 27-years old, a little bit older than most prospects. Castellanos was drafted in the tenth round of the 2008 draft by the Cardinals as a third-year college player out of Belmont Abbey College. Castellanos will not be arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season, giving which ever team claims him five years of control.

The Drawbacks

Of course, there is a reason Castellanos was designated for assignment. At his core, Castellanos struck out at a 25.51% rate in his age 26 season, against a 23.23% career strikeout rate against just a 7.76% career walk rate. Additionally, Castellanos’ Triple-A OPS dropped 195 points from 2012 to 2013.

For the team that claims Castellanos, there is risk: Castellanos may have hit his ceiling and may just be a Darin Ruf-like player but with more speed and better defense. Considering the Phillies gave Ruf 293 PA in 2013, Castellanos may be a talented addition that could add depth in a currently empty outfield.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. bacardipr

    October 18, 2013 at 5:14 am

    If they can stick him in AAA sort of like what they did Frandsden i would say yes.

  2. jake

    October 18, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Yes. This is the type of signing that brought them a world series. (Werth, Victorino…etc…Ok it also brought Mayberry but lets not split hairs). Point is, cheap with upside is better than win now, expensive, free-agents. At least with the current structure of the team.

  3. wbramh

    October 18, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Keep those highly-touted aging career minor leaguers coming and the roster will begin to resemble scab players in a strike-bound season. The crazy thing is, Mini Mart still wouldn’t be a starter.

  4. j2hole

    October 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Should have claimed Edwar Cabrera from the Rockies!

  5. Bart Shart

    October 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Yes, What do we have to lose?

  6. George

    October 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Fringe players can sometimes be useful, but sometimes they just clog up the system.

  7. hk

    October 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

    There’s surely a place for a guy like this in an organization whose front office felt it was necessary to re-sign Michael Martinez.

  8. Alex M.

    October 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    This is a no brainer, what do we have to lose by claiming him? Nothing, at worst I think he has 4th outfielder potential with a decent amount of pop. In addition he would give us a more reliable right handed bench bat. If you claim him and he does not fair well in the spring then you cut him lose, what do you have to lose. Make it happen Ruben!

  9. bacardipr

    October 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    He strikes out a ton more than Ruf. Theres downside to it as well. What we lose is another roster spot.

    • schmenkman

      October 19, 2013 at 2:03 am

      I looked up the strikeouts:

      2011 in minors: Ruf 17.1%, Castellanos 22.1%
      2012 in minors: Ruf 17.5%, Castellanos 20.9%
      2013 in minors: Ruf 25.1%, Castellanos 25.5%
      2012-13 majors: Ruf 31.2%, Castellanos 30.2% (only 43 PA)

      In 2011-12 the difference wasn’t that great, and based on the last two years they look similar (although Castellanos’ MLB rate is based on too few PAs to be meaningful yet).

      You’re right about the roster spot, of course. I don’t know much about their defense, but I see Castellanos as a slightly younger and probably slightly better hitter than Casper Wells.

  10. DavidE

    October 19, 2013 at 12:55 am

    May as well give Susdorf another crack at it. I realize he dropped that ball in his one start in Detroit but generally he has been a decent outfielder.

  11. bacardipr

    October 19, 2013 at 5:02 am

    DavidE ive been wondering about Susdorf as well. Must be something they dont like about this kid. I mean i know he had that one gaff but they pulled the rope to quick on him. Yet theyll call up Mini in a heartbeat if they need a spare OF’er.

    • George

      October 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      Mini gets called up when they need a spare outfielder who can also play infield, which I don’t think is on Susdorf’s resume. They also called up the Mart rather than having a real prospect lose playing time getting splinters in his butt in Philadelpia. (Mini, with his smaller frame might find it easier to pick those pesky things out.)

      There’s usually a good reason why certain players languish in the minors, so I’m never going to question the thinking behind why Susdorf is still there, because:

      1. I’ve never seen him play.
      2. I don’t know if he gets along with people or smarts off to coaches, or anything else about his off-field personna.
      3. I’ve never heard of other teams asking about him in trade talks.

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