Tigers Ecstatic To Add Castellanos' Bat

DETROIT—The Tigers didn't have a first-round pick in this year's draft after signing closer Jose Valverde this offseason. But vice president of scouting David Chadd found a way to keep busy during this year's first round.

"I paced a lot—I chewed my fingernails and paced," Chadd said.

When Detroit finally made a selection—actually two picks, No. 44 and 48 in the supplemental first round—Chadd chose Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin.

Castellanos is a shortstop from Archbishop McCarthy High in Southwest Ranches, Fla. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder was named Florida's Gatorade player of the year after batting .542 with six home runs, 41 RBIs and 22 stolen bases to lead the Mavericks to the school's first-ever Class 4A state title.

Castellanos, who hit four doubles in the Under Armour Game played at Wrigley Field last summer, has a college commitment to Miami.

"His tool set was impossible to pass up with the 44th pick," Chadd said. "I was as ecstatic as I have ever been when we drafted him.

"If I told you where we had him on our draft board, it would shock you."

If the Tigers are able to sign Castellanos, Chadd said he envisions a move to third base.

"His swing is very fundamentally sound," Chadd said. "He has a short, quick, compact stroke, and his pitch recognition is strong. Last summer we saw he has the ability to hit a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball.

"With his frame, he'll be able to add some strength, so (third base) is where we see him fitting in down the road."

Ruffin is a college righthander who was 6-1 with 13 saves and a 0.81 ERA for Texas. The 6-foot, 185-pounder is the son of Bruce Ruffin, who spent 12 seasons in the majors with the Phillies, Brewers and Rockeis.

"Chance Ruffin's performance numbers are unbelievable," Chadd said. "I saw him pitch twice, and he was dominating both times."

Chadd said Ruffin reminds him of another Longhorn closer, Huston Street, and that Ruffin's future also will be in relief work.

"He has three power pitches, and he's able to locate them very well," Chadd said of Ruffin. "He's also very aggressive.

"I think he will complement some of the arms we have taken in recent drafts. You can never have enough pitching, and I think every team has started to realize that adding quality bullpen arms is highly important."


• Castellanos is the first non-pitcher the Tigers have selected with their first pick since taking center fielder Cameron Maybin with the 10th overall choice in 2005. The last time the Tigers took an infielder with their first pick was in 2002, when they selected Scott Moore.

• This year marked the latest the Tigers have made their first pick since 1984 when they didn't have a selection until the 52nd overall pick.