Cincinnati Reds spring training: Five most intriguing players to watch

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds scores a run. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds scores a run. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 14: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Nick Castellanos, Reds outfielder

I truly believe that Nick Castellanos will be the most dangerous hitter on the Cincinnati Reds this season. The 28-year-old fell woefully below what was expected of him last season, but I don’t think we’re going to see that carry over into 2021.

Castellanos started out like an MVP candidate. Through the first 10 games of 2020, Castellanos was hitting .382/.462/.912 with five home runs and 12 RBIs. However, Castellanos’ production took a nose dive after the first week-plus of the season, the Florida native hit just .196/.266/.408 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs over the final 50 games of the season.

Obviously, no one can keep up the torrid pace that Castellanos set out of the gates, but after signing the four-year/$64M contract last offseason, fans certainly expected better production from the right-handed hitting slugger. Castellanos’ power didn’t disappear, but his batting average dropped well below his career numbers.

Nick Castellanos is entering his second year in the Queen City and still has the opportunity to opt out of his current deal following the 2021 season. Another season like 2020 will almost assuredly keep Castellanos in Cincinnati for another two seasons, but if he puts up the explosive numbers that landed him that big contract, Castellanos may enter the free agent market once again.

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Castellanos has all but locked down the starting spot in right field, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jesse Winker get some work there as well. With the absence of the universal DH, the quartet or Castellanos, Winker, Shogo Akiyama, and Nick Senzel will be battling for playing time all season. Castellanos will be looking for redemption in 2021.