Nick the stick: Castellanos maturing as hitter

Tigers third baseman hits game-tying home run in win vs. Twins

Nick the stick: Castellanos maturing as hitter

MINNEAPOLIS -- Through his first two full seasons in the Major Leagues, Nick Castellanos didn't always show the advanced hitting approach that helped him fly through the Minors and reach the Tigers at 21 years old in 2013.

Settling in during his third season in Detroit, Castellanos is becoming the hitter the Tigers expected.

Castellanos' three-run home run tied the game in the sixth inning and Detroit swept the Twins with a 6-5 victory on Sunday. Castellanos also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the second for his second four-RBI game of the season.

"Everyone thought he would hit, and he really has hit for a young player," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's just maturing and getting better."

Castellanos sacrifice fly

Castellanos was 6-for-11 in the three-game series at Minnesota with two homers and seven RBIs. He tied the game at 5 when his deep drive reached the first few rows of the stands in left field. It traveled an estimated 374 feet, according to Statcast™, with a strong wind blowing in.

"I was just reacting to what was thrown," Castellanos said. "I just wasn't trying to commit myself to a fastball, just try to stay middle of the field and not try to do too much."

With his fourth homer of the season, he extended his hitting streak to five games, going 9-for-18 in that span. He's hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games and leads the American League in batting average (.361).

"I think he has great expectations, the organization has great expectations of him," designated hitter Victor Martinez said. "This is his third year and you can see he is more comfortable. He's moving around with a lot more energy. He's going to get better."

Castellanos' development increases the depth in Detroit's lineup. Combining with Martinez and Justin Upton, Castellanos was part of the 4-5-6 spots in the Tigers' batting order which combined to go 22-for-37 (.595) in the three-game series.

While Castellanos is demonstrating the hitting that made him one of Detroit's top prospects a few years ago, he knows he is still growing as he learns the Major Leagues.

"My discipline is still something that I need to work on," Castellanos said. "It's not like I have anything figured out. I'm still learning. I'm still trying to get better. I'm doing a good job hitting the pitches I can handle, but I still do get in trouble and I do chase sometimes. It's all part of the game."

Brian Hall is a contributor to based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.