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Nick Castellanos Signs with Philadelphia Phillies - Fantasy Baseball Impact

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their aggressive offseason by signing free-agent outfielder Nick Castellanos to a five-year, 100-million dollar deal on Friday. This comes after they are already brought in another big bat earlier in the week in lefty Kyle Schwarber who can now likely DH with Castellanos being a more capable fielder.

Castellanos is another big bat for this formidable lineup and is coming off a huge year in Cincinnati. Could this be the move that puts the Phillies over the top and makes them a World Series contender?

Maybe, but for now, let's take a quick look at the fantasy impacts of this move and how it may impact Castellanos's numbers in 2022.

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Career Year

Castellanos toiled away in relative obscurity as a member of the Detroit Tigers for 6+ seasons before going to the Reds midseason in 2019 and spending the last two and half seasons in Cincy. While he had always posted very useable numbers before 2021, last year he absolutely smashed the baseball and posted career highs in homers (34), batting average (.309), and OPS (.938), earning his first All-Star appearance of this career.

He drove in 100 runs and cut back on strikeouts posting the lowest K% of his career at 20.7%. Making more contact was a huge boon to his numbers as he was playing home games in one of the better hitting environments in the league - the Great American Ballpark.

His batted ball metrics were excellent as he ranked in the top 5% in wOBA, top 10% in xSLG, and top 7% in xAVG. He barreled the ball at a 10.6% rate and his power was on display to all fields, which I'll circle back to later on as a big reason why he should continue his success at Citizens Ballpark.

 

Impact of the Move

You'd think that moving out of Cincinnati would be a negative for Castellanos because of just how great that ballpark is for hitting, but he's heading to another solid hitters' park in Philly and he's going to enjoy the best lineup protection of his career.

Against right-handed pitchers, I'm going to guess we see Schwarber leadoff unless the Phillies decide to go with more speed and contact at the top with someone like Jean Segura. Either way, we are likely going to get Schwarber, Casty, Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto in succession with the righties and lefties being staggered. That's a damn good top-of-the-order and probably one of the best in MLB. Pitchers won't be able to pitch around him and he's going to have guys on base when he's hitting and some solid hitters at the plate to drive him in, too.

Now, let's talk park factors. Using rolling three-year averages, Citizens Bank Park has the 9th-best park factor for right-handed hitters but has allowed the fifth-most homers. If we check on the Citizens Bank Park overlay for Casty's 2021 batted balls, it shows us that his ability to drive the ball to all fields is going to play extremely well in his new home park.

We can see that he hit some bombs last year that would be out of any park but there are a lot of doubles and outs here that would be home runs in Philly. His opposite-field power is going to be a great fit for this park with the short porch in right field. Citizens Bank Park did have some of the fewest amounts of doubles, but the potential for a 35-40 HR season is definitely here when you consider how often Castellanos makes quality contact and how many barrels he hits (44 last season).

 

Fantasy Impact

I see this move as a net positive for Castellanos. He was already a guy that you should have been considering for your team based on his massive 2021 output and now he's moving to a contending team with a loaded lineup. The ballpark impact is better than many might think since Citizens Bank Park is almost as hitter-friendly as Great American.

The lineup protection and quality of hitters around him is going to mean more opportunities to produce useful counting stats and his career-low strikeout rate and improved contact metrics in 2021 give me some confidence that he's going to be putting the ball in play a lot again this year, which should be a great thing for fantasy owners. I'd draft him with confidence this Spring and even bump him up your board a little as I think he's in a great spot here for another big year.



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