Let’s face it, this Phillies season has sucked. There have been no prolonged stretches of great play by them as a team. Prized Free Agent Trea Turner hasn’t just been disappointing, he has been bad period. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have both struggled out of the gate. And as a team, they are still under .500 into June. After the Sixers collapse, we thought the Phillies would lift us up. But all they did was tie an extra anchor dragging us even deeper into our sports depression. But there has been one good thing this season for Phillies fans to get on board with. Nick Castellanos.
Last year, Nick Castellanos was Trea Turner. He was bad pretty much all season. After Slugging at a rate of .576 in 2021 with the Reds, that fell under .400 with the Phillies last season. He went from 34 home runs to just 13 last year. His batting average dropped from .309 to .263. He quickly drew the tire of fans with his lack of performance, and occasionally a lack of accountability.
But whatever he worked on this offseason, has worked. Because through two months, he has been their best hitter. Not Kyle Scwharber. He is batting .172. Not Trea Turner. Who has done next to nothing all season apart from one big hit. And not Bryce Harper who missed the first month of the season. No, Nick Castellanos.
As of June 5th, he has a slash line of .316/.360/.498. He leads the Phillies in batting average and slugging percentage, and his OBP is the 2nd best on the team. Nick is also first in doubles, and 2nd in HRs and RBIs. Unlike many of his teammates, he has not had a sustained cold streak either. Brandon Marsh opened the season on a crazy hot streak but then hit .208 in May. But Nick has hit well from game 1 until this weekend’s series vs the Nationals.
So what has him back to the player they thought they were getting last year? While no one would ever call him a patient hitter, he is at least being a little selective now at the plate. 17 walks through 2 months is not a ton. But he had just 29 all of last season. He went up there swinging at pretty much everything.
We saw it in the World Series where Hector Neris struck him out in a big situation on 3 straight balls. But this season, he is laying off pitches he has no chance to hit. That of course leads to pitchers actually having to throw some strikes. And when Nick Castellanos gets a ball in the zone, he can hit it. Just being a little bit more selective as led to much improved results.
Yea, his actual power numbers aren’t quite back to what they were in 2021. But what they now have in Nick Castellanos is a professional and dependable hitter. He nearly beat the Nationals on his own last Friday with a 2 HR, 4 hits, and 5 RBI night.
Those 5 RBIs in one game are 1/3rd of what Turner had all season at that point.
There was talk of the fans turning on Nick early this offseason. If he had come out and played poorly again, he could have turned into public enemy number 1. Instead, he worked hard this offseason fixing his approach at the plate. And now we all get to enjoy the rewards. While many of his teammates continue to let us down, Nick Castellanos is a bright spot in an otherwise miserable season thus far. And his turnaround is exactly the type of thing that can make Philly fans fall in love with a player.
Grading Every Phillies Hitter Two Months Into the Season