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Let’s show Nick Castellanos some love

Is it possible for a guy making $20 million to be “under the radar”?

Philadelphia Phillies v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Phillies season isn’t even 40 games old and it already has enough storylines to give a decent outline for a book on the season.

  • Will Joe Girardi be around through the entire season?
  • Why isn’t the offense more consistent?
  • The bullpen still needs help, right?
  • Who will end up being the solution to center field?
  • Hey, Alec Bohm actually isn’t half bad!

Bryce Harper’s elbow has made him a full-time designated hitter for now, making the adoption of the position in the National League a godsend to this team right now. Without his glove, though, the team has been forced to play Nick Castellanos out there every day, something they probably didn’t anticipate when plotting out the 2022 season.

The thing is, Castellanos has done something really difficult with this team. Were you to scour the online landscape, as well as tally up the amount of air time given him on sports radio, you’d see that Castellanos has rarely had his name brought up at all this season. For a guy that signed a $100 million contract, to the shock of everyone, there has been very little said about the guy so far this season.

Let’s fix that.

Let’s show the outfielder that chose to come here a little love.

I don’t think it is too bold a statement to say that Castellanos has been the best, most consistent hitter in this lineup this season. We’ve been focused on all the parts of the lineup that aren’t working (leadoff hitter, until recently Rhys Hoskins, etc.) that we haven’t noticed what has been working, each and every day. As others around him have slumped and swung well, ridden the offensive roller coaster that is the 162 game season, quietly, Castellanos has been a rock in the middle of the lineup.

He isn’t putting up the gaudy home run totals we might have expected, but he’s also, through Wednesday’s games, been sneakily productive. Here are his MLB rankings in different categories:

  • 29th in MLB with a 147 wRC+.
  • tied with Freddie Freeman for 21st in slugging (.509)
  • 32nd, with Jean Segura, in on base percentage (.366)
  • 28th in the 1 RBI
  • 20th in wOBA (.385)

With the bat, Castellanos has been everything he was advertised to be. As the players around him have gone through hot and cold streaks alike, he has been more or less the same hitter since the bell rang on day one.

Of course, with all the good he brings on offense, there is another part of his game that tends to not be so hot. His defense: not great. If advanced metrics is your thing, well then I’d encourage to not look them up. They’re, uh, well they’re not good.

But did you want Castellanos on the team to play defense, or did you want Castellanos on the team to crush baseballs? Pretty sure we know the answer to that question.

The offense as a whole has started to heat up of late. There has been more consistency from the big bats in the lineup and contributions from others like Johan Camargo and Jean Segura have started to come with a little more regularity. That means the steadiness of Castellanos might get brushed aside as the more celebrated names among the fanbase are starting to get their due. What we should keep in mind is that Castellanos has been pretty much as advertised. He’s the steady performer this offense craved heading into the past offseason. Should he continue throughout the season, it’ll make the team that much better. Let’s hope he can keep it up.