The Cincinnati Reds capped off their strong offseason with another big move, announcing the addition of Nicholas Castellanos on a 4-year, $64 million dollar deal (which includes opt outs after 2020 and 2021). Castellanos has been a solid above average hitter the last several years, but then stepped up a notch when joining the Cubs down the stretch in 2019. After posting a 105 wRC+ in 439 PA with Detroit, he was traded over at the deadline and posted an explosive 154 mark in 225 PA.
In joining Cincinnati, Castellanos now has the best home ballpark of his career, as Great American Ballpark is routinely a top 10 park in homers, though I’ll quickly point out that Comerica Park isn’t nearly as bad for hitters as it’s perceived. If he can log his fourth straight season of at least 150 games, we might finally see the elusive 30-homer season after 26, 23, and 27 the last three seasons. He should regularly bat 4th or 5th for the Reds so he could get his second 100-RBI season, too.
While this move gives the Reds incredible outfield depth, it muddies the water on fantasy outlook of those involved, namely Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, and Aristides Aquino. I don’t think they brought in Castellanos to platoon while another recent acquisition – Shogo Akiyama – is their best centerfield option. This move could indicate some skepticism about the reliability of Winker and Senzel given their health record or Aquino given that he has just 226 major league plate appearances under his belt. Orrr if you want to look at it more positively, perhaps they’re stocking up for a trade.
Let’s look at the early draft market on this set since the New Year:
- Castellanos – 117th overall
- Aquino – 169th
- Senzel – 207th
- Winker – 315th
Unsurprisingly, Winker comes in last as he adds a nasty platoon split to his injury history when it comes to negative marks. He has just 147 PA against lefties, but the .543 OPS marks a 364-point split compared to his work against righties. Aquino and Senzel have seen their prices dip since drafts started back in November, both dropping about 20 points overall.
Castellanos feels light at this price. Now, he will go up as every big-time free agent sees a boost once they land, but I wonder if he’ll go up enough. That current price puts him as the 33rd OF off the board and if he jumps 15-20 spots, he’ll be around the 27th at that point.
I think I’d jump him over Eddie Rosario for sure and then get him the cluster with Joey Gallo, Jeff McNeil, and Jorge Soler. That’d put him in the top 25, which feels right and it’s probably the highest he can go because the next group up includes guys who can hit similarly and steal bases. Steamer has him 24th, right around Gallo, Soler, and Max Kepler.
If Casty hits this range, who are you preferring?