Castellanos heats up at just the right time

Tigers third baseman can help fill void left by Martinez trade

July 19th, 2017

KANSAS CITY -- says he hasn't changed a thing with his swing. All that has changed, he says, are his fortunes.
"Same thing as the beginning of the year, man. Just stuff's falling now," the third baseman said after his two homers and triple in Tuesday's 9-3 win over the Royals. "There's no adjustment. There's no secret. There's no nothing. Baseball. Underlined."
The way he's hitting lately, a boldface font might be more appropriate. And as the Tigers try to figure out how to make up the offensive loss, with J.D. Martinez now in Arizona, Castellanos is heating up.
He entered Wednesday's game with four homers in four days, three homers through the first two games of this four-game series against the Royals, and batting .350 (28-for-80) since June 21 with 12 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs and a 1.088 OPS. He went 1-for-4 in the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Royals on Wednesday night.

At the same time, there's no huge uptick in Castellanos' average exit velocity; if anything, it has dropped slightly. His 90.2 average ranks 13th among Major League hitters with at least 190 batted-ball events this season, according to Statcast™. His 30 "barrels" -- well-struck batted balls with an expected batting average of .500 and slugging percentage of 1.500 -- ranks 13th.
"I think the law of averages plays into it," manager Brad Ausmus said. "You can't hit balls consistently that hard and not get anything for it."
With Martinez gone, Castellanos moved up to fifth in the lineup against right-handed pitching, just behind cleanup hitter and ahead of . He remains second in the lineup against lefties.