With Kyle Tucker struggling against major league pitching, should the Astros consider a trade for outfield help?
There has been speculation that the Astros may be looking to upgrade their outfield due to the slow start of top prospect Kyle Tucker who is batting .143 in 15 games. Who knows maybe I’m overthinking this, the same thing happened two years ago when Alex Bregman started 0-for-18 to start his Major League career. The answer could be acquiring Tigers’ outfielder Nick Castellanos.
But who is Castellanos?
Castellanos has been the only bright spot for a rebuilding Tigers team who are currently 13.5 games out of first place and remain near the bottom of an underperforming AL Central division. Castellanos is batting .292 with 15 HR’s and 58 RBI’s alongside and .842 OPS. He has the ability to play both corner outfield spots as well as third base. He has a solid approach at the plate and consistently hits the ball up the middle and has good enough hands to handle any off-speed pitch thrown at him. He has stepped up as the leader in the clubhouse with the injury of All-Star Miguel Cabrera, and his leadership qualities continue to stand out. A negative of Castellanos is that he is not a strong defender but his effort is never questioned.
What’s the Tigers asking price?
Personally, I believe it will take two-to-three players to acquire him, but the Tigers have suggested it could be a significant load to bring him to Houston. However, Tigers GM Al Avila can’t hold back too long, knowing he must make a move for the rebuilding Tigers before the deadline. I believe the Astros can put a package together that includes outfielder Jake Marisnick, J.D. Davis, and Astros 19th ranked prospect Brandon Bielak. All three of these players would have a spot on the Major League roster.
Marisnick is currently with Triple-A Fresno and has performed very well there batting .323 with 21 hits in 17 games, adding three homers and eight RBI’s as well. He has the ability to play all three outfield spots but is primarily a center fielder. He has shown he can perform at the Major League level. He has above average speed and can flash the leather in the outfield. He has had history of struggling as a hitter but there have been times where he has hit for power as well as average. He could step in right away as a top of the order hitter and can take control of any outfield position.
Davis is currently on the Major League roster due to the injuries of All-Stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. and has a career .208 average at the MLB level, that’s nothing special but Davis has not had the opportunity to play everyday as he would if he was with Detroit. In the minors this year he has batted .340 with 8 HR’s and 54 RBI’s and a .932 OPS. Davis could become the everyday third baseman for the Tigers.
The 22 year-old RHP out of Notre Dame was drafted in 2017 and has climbed his way into Double-A Corpus Christi and has performed very well. In six games he has a 2-2 record with a 2.23 ERA with a 27/14 K/BB ratio. Bielak may not have a dominant pitch but he has an effective four-pitch repertoire. He has a 91-94 mph four-seam fastball and has a natural tail that avoids the barrel. His changeup often is his best secondary pitch and has helped him dominate left-handers. The Astros have helped him work on commanding his curveball and slider and so far it has been working out due to him being able to throw more strikes as a pro then in college. He still is a couple years away but the Tigers could look to develop him into a middle of the rotation starter or as a middle reliever.
Whether or not the Astros can pull off a Castellanos trade doesn’t make or break the Astros in the long haul. Castellanos has only a year left on his contract but if he performs the Astros can look to sign him long term if they decide to get move on from Evan Gattis,Yuli Gurriel, or Josh Reddick. However, the Astros still believe they have a rising star in Kyle Tucker and he will get every opportunity to prove he can be an everyday player.