Go with what you know.
It’s not the hoariest bromide in baseball’s lexicon. In the case of Scott Harris and Nicholas Castellanos, it actually makes some sense.
Last summer when Harris was the assistant general manager of the Cubs, Castellanos was dealt to Chicago from the Detroit Tigers. You could say it worked out OK.
Castellanos, 27, raked in 51 games as a Cubbie, batting .321 with 16 home runs and 36 RBI. Pro-rate those numbers over a 162-game season and you get “Humm baby!”
So it should be no surprise to hear that Harris, now the Giants general manager, is reportedly interested in Castellanos, currently a free agent.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, “The Giants are among the teams showing interest in Castellanos, two sources said Tuesday. Castellanos’ market is likely to become clearer during next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, with the White Sox and Marlins among the possible suitors.”
Why it makes sense, per Morosi:
“Castellanos, a right-handed hitter, would be a welcome contrast to what could be an all-left-handed everyday outfield for the Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson.
Castellanos also has indicated a willingness to play the corner-infield positions, where Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt were close to league-average hitters in 2019.
While Castellanos has played mostly right field for each of the last two seasons, he also has experience in left field, a longstanding area of need for the Giants. San Francisco left fielders combined for a .673 OPS in 2019, second worst in the majors.
And the Giants’ decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar this week freed up a spot in their outfield and additional spending power in the 2020 payroll.
Circling back to the “go with what you know” philosophy, check this out:
Baseball-reference.com has a feature, “Similarity Scores.” Here’s the methodology. Scroll down Castellanos’ page and you can see how he compares with other batters in baseball history. Check the table “Similar Batters through (age) 27” and you’ll see three names Giants fans are likely to recognize:
1. Jim Ray Hart. A great-hit, no-field 1960s-era third baseman/outfielder who averaged 28 homers and 89 RBI in his first full five major league seasons. Jim Ray’s career was cut short due to injuries and beanings. But in his prime he was a holy terror.
2. Reggie Smith. A switch-hitting outfielder/first baseman with power and speed, Smith dropped by for the 1982 season and was a catalyst as the Giants made a late-season run for the division title.
And 3: Pablo Sandoval. No introductions necessary.
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