Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos should fare better in the 2023 season.
One of the key Philadelphia Phillies moves before the 2022 season was signing Nick Castellanos to a five-year, $100 million deal. Most would agree that the slugger’s first year in red pinstripes did not go according to plan.
Castellanos slashed .263/.305/.389 with just 13 home runs. The outfielder also struck out 130 times in 558 plate appearances. Many of these numbers do not align with Castellanos’ career numbers before 2022.
It can be argued that Castellanos’ breakout season came in 2017 with the Detroit Tigers. That was the first year that he broke the 20 home run and 100 RBI threshold. Afterward, Castellanos has hit at least 20 home runs in every season except the shortened 2020 season — and 2022.
Castellanos has also had an 800+ OPS in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021. His best season was in 2021 with the Cincinnati Reds — when he was an All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award. In 2021, Castellanos also hit a career-high 34 home runs and finished the season with a .939 OPS.
There is no doubt that Castellanos has proven success in Major League Baseball. What happened in 2022? One theory is that he may have had a lingering injury. In the first month of the season, Castellanos hit .300/.374/.475. On May 5, he was hit by a pitch in the wrist — an injury that put him on the injured list in 2021. Perhaps, the injury affected him more than it appeared.
Another issue that Castellanos had was his plate discipline and approach. According to Baseball-Reference, he found himself down 0-1 in the count 305 times this past season. Of those, he struck out 94 times. Let’s remember that Castellanos struck out 130 times all season. Once he found himself in a hole, his strikeout likelihood skyrocketed. He also found himself chasing many pitches outside the strike zone.
Castellanos can regain his pre-2022 form. He needs to be healthy and focus on improving his plate approach. Hopefully, Bryce Harper is healthy enough to play right field and give Castellanos some time as designated hitter — giving him some rest as well.
The Phillies will rely on Castellanos to improve if they plan on making another deep postseason run.