Phillies 2024 Season Preview: RF Nick Castellanos

Steamer and ZiPS project less production for the Phillies' right fielder in 2024, even with fewer strikeouts.
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies
Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The next player to be spotlighted in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview series is right fielder Nick Castellanos.

Previous season previews: José Alvarado, Andrew Bellatti, Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon

We will examine Castellanos' 2023 season and then evaluate projections for the 2024 season using the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Nick Castellanos 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 671 PA, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 79 R, 11 SB, .272/ .311/. 443, 109 wRC+, 1.0 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 647 PA, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 77 R, 7 SB, .260/.309/.443, 101 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR

2024 ZiPS: 595 PA, 23 HR, 85 RBI, 72 R, 7 SB, .258/.306/.445, 77 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR

Nick Castellanos 2024 season preview

Nick Castellanos quieted the doubters in 2023 and put together a strong second season in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform that resulted in an All-Star appearance and a new career high in runs batted in with 106. Castellanos had a lot to prove after signing a five-year, $100 million contract before the 2022 season.

Do 2024 Steamer and ZiPS projections have him improving more in year three?

Castellanos projects for less production, even with fewer strikeouts

Both models are predicting mild regression for Castellanos, who will be 32 this season. Steamer has his batting average dipping 12 points to .260, while ZiPS has him projected to hit .258. The 29 home runs Castellanos hit in 2023 was the second-highest total of his career after hitting 34 in 2021 as a member of the Reds.

Steamer projects him to regress slightly with 24 home runs, while ZiPS predicts 23 home runs in 2024. The Phillies have plenty of guys with over-the-fence pop — nothing to be concerned about here.

The more alarming decline is with projections for Castellanos' RBI totals for 2024. As mentioned above, Castellanos drove in a career-high 106 base runners last season. With Steamer projecting 90 RBI and ZiPS predicting 85, what could account for this drop-off in run production?

The answer may be a question of where Castellanos bats in the lineup this season. Following multiple prolonged slumps in 2023, the notoriously streaky hitter was moved from the middle of the order to the seventh spot on multiple occasions throughout the season and in the playoffs.

If Nick Castellanos wants to outperform these projections in 2024, he'll have to improve his approach at the plate. 2023 saw him post the second-highest strikeout rate of his career at 27.6 percent. You can argue it's the worst rate of his career if you dismiss the 28.5 percent during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.

At 24.9 percent, Steamer projects his strikeout rate to return closer to his career average of 23.6 percent, so maybe Castellanos will cut down on the swing and miss in his game in 2024.

Nick Castellanos is an important part of the Phillies lineup. When he's comfortable at the plate, his power, run production, and ability to hit in the gap are vital parts of a fearsome lineup that's constructed to bludgeon opposing pitchers. Let's hope Castellanos improves upon his 2023 and proves his projections of a regression wrong this season.

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