TURNING DOUBTERS INTO BELIEVERS

By:  Kurt Snyder

How many sportswriters admit when they are wrong? How many throw up their hands declaring themselves “guilty as charged” when they are proven wrong about a team or a player.

Not many. But it’s happening here today. We share a lot of opinions. We ask a lot of questions. We drive a lot of discussion. But I am pretty sure we haven’t admitted to being wrong.

But I’m the black sheep of this little partnership here at Totally Tigers and I am the one who gets to throw the emotions around. I am the lucky one who gets to deliver the passion. I get to fly by the seat of my pants. To me, I have the easy job. So if I am going to spout off about someone, I have to be prepared to admit when things are just not what they seem.

So here it goes: Thank goodness the Tigers didn’t trade Nick Castellanos.

Yep, I was the one before the trade deadline last season who was in buy mode. I was the one looking for the Tigers to go get some starting pitching by sacrificing an everyday player; Nick Castellanos.

I admit it. I haven’t been enamored with a player the Tigers were hell-bent on keeping. Every possible suitor for Castellanos has been turned away over the last few years. Nick’s been an untouchable. He was the Tigers’ sure thing.

But when we started to see him play, the initial glimpses were not that impressive. He seemed to be very slow of foot, certainly not athletic enough to play an effective third base. And his arm? Average at best. Certainly not the kind of arm that could gun someone down on a bang-bang play in a close game.

But the Tigers figured the defense would come. And it has. They figured his vaunted talents with the bat would soon blossom. And they have. But last season, even at just 23, it was hard to see future stardom for this kid. It just was.

So to me, he was prime trade bait. Nick offered decent tools at the plate; he was still young and could have bagged the Tigers some more pitching. But young talent at a critical position like third base doesn’t come around often. I just wasn’t patient enough to let it all play out. I just thought I knew the game enough to know.

But I don’t care how much baseball you watch. I don’t care how many games you have attended or how much you think you know about this great game. You’re never going to figure it out. You can only trust your instincts that you hope will validate your knowledge of the game most of the time.

How many fans out there were losing their minds early in the season thinking Miggy had been reduced to just a singles hitter?

How many fans declared JV in serious decline at the beginning of this year? If you haven’t been paying attention, none of it is true. Miggy’s hitting bombs again and JV is back to baffling hitters.

And then there is Nick Castellanos; a young third baseman, still only 24 years old, hitting the ball harder than he has ever hit it. Hitting with the kind of power none of us have seen until now. It has all come together.

He’s more disciplined at the plate. He doesn’t go to the plate searching for his pitch, hoping he gets it. He waits, gets his pitch and drives it. No more guessing. No more indecision. He is a confident hitter who has that look when he walks up to the plate, a relaxed look he didn’t have before.

Nick is a young and very coveted talent, one the Tigers have been stubborn about keeping. Glad they stuck to their guns.

12 thoughts on “TURNING DOUBTERS INTO BELIEVERS

  1. Since Kurt will confess apparent error, I will too. Wrong on Castellanos on offense; continued defensive improvement will make me wrong there too. Somewhat wrong on Miggy–knew he would hit but doubted that the power would return. Wrong on Victor–thought that injuries had finished him. However, right on Verlander. I figured his season would unfold like last year.

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  2. You’re not the only one who was wrong on Castellanos Kurt, I’m totally with you. As much as I thought he was going to be a good hitter, watching his defense I thought he had to bat at least 320 to make up for it. But he has very much improved this year, I see him comfortable on his feet and also surprised to see his arm strength. Glad I was wrong.

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  3. Sorry Kurt. A good bat in the first 40 does not a fenom make. I love seeing it but time will tell the degree of legitimacy with Nick. Remember Even Alex Avila made the all-star team and Brandon Inge was asked to the home run derby one year. He could go all JD, blossom and be the real deal for years to come but let’s just enjoy it while it’s here, for as long as it’s here.

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  4. Confession is good for the soul. I gave Miggy and Victor the benefit of doubt due of their surgery. I refused to cut J.V. any slack. My opinion went beyond doubt. It was a conviction. I was wrong. To be credible we must be truthful. You and Holly always speak the truth here at TT. There is no doubt about that!

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  5. I agree Kurt. I always liked Nick but I too was ready to ship him out. There is a look about him that seems to show that he has figured it out and it is really great to see unfold like it has. I am glad the Tigers stuck to their guns with him and kept him. Adjustment is they key though, will he adjust if and or when pitchers figure him out.

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  6. I won’t claim to have known that Nick was going to be this good, but I felt that he had shown so little that the return on a trade could not have justified the real chance that a very young player could improve significantly. And I remembered how badly we were burned in the Howard Johnson-for-Walt Terrel trade.

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  7. I am impressed with Nick this season and was wrong about him as well. Although I don’t expect to hit .340 all year, he looks much better. I always thought he had the worst looking swing for someone our scouts thought was cant miss. His swing was everything you wouldn’t teach a kid but looks better. Also, I can’t stand when they take him out for defense.

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  8. Totally Tigers continues to refresh us daily. You folks are AMAZING. Different slants, different subjects and different style make for great daily reading. Now for Nik. We all heard about his great potential. The Tigers ” almost” blew it up by jerking him around with position assignments, platooning, and late inning replacements. Tip for Kurt. Keep an ear tuned to Kaline. He was in NC corner all the way.

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  9. Having watched Nick play for the White Caps, I was adamant that he could do what he is now doing. So that’s one thing I got right! (Believe me, it doesn’t seem like there is much lately.)

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  10. I was one of the few that has always been in NC’s corner. In fact, I thought his bat would be so good I waited in drafting a 3B in both of my fantasy teams and took him late in my drafts. His arm and fielding have progressed faster than I anticipated, though. Another guy I thought during the preseason would be very good was JV. So I drafted him as well.

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