With the designated hitter coming to the National League in 2020 in a shortened season, the idea was that it would benefit the Cincinnati Reds quite a bit. Their outfield is crowded, to say the least. Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Shogo Akiyama all seem to be starting caliber players. Behind them you’ve got guys like Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, Mark Payton, and Josh VanMeter – all of whom could be very helpful to just about any team in the league as an outfield option.
Being able to spread the at-bats and playing time out with the designated hitter would let Cincinnati drastically improve their offense. Manager David Bell hinted at the idea that Nick Senzel likely gets most of the playing time in center field, but that there would be times where Shogo Akiyama could get action out there. He also noted that the majority of the designated hitter spots would be filled out by the teams outfielders.
On Tuesday afternoon, newest Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos was asked about potentially being the designated hitter.
“No, I don’t want to DH,” Castellanos said. “I chose to come to the Reds, first and foremost I believe they can win, but I also liked being in the National League where I get to play defense every day. A goal of mine is to become a better defender every game that I play.”
Still somewhat new to the outfield, Nick Castellanos showed reasons to believe that he’s becoming a better defender with more experience in the outfield. Mike Petriello of MLB.com wrote about his defensive improvement back in November before he Castellanos signed with Cincinnati.
It’s worth noting that he has an opt-out in his contract following the season. Whether the organization takes into consideration his not wanting to be a designated hitter or not is likely going to remain unknown. With that said, when he was asked about which outfield spot he feels the most comfortable in, he did state that he’d play wherever David Bell asked him to.
“If I’m going to say from a comfort level, I’d say right field just because I’ve had the majority of games there,” said Castellanos. “But that doesn’t mean that if David asked me to play left or any other position because the team needed it that I’m going to say no. If I’m going to say what place in the outfield I’m going to feel most comfortable, I’ve played more games in right field than any other position, so I’d say right.”
With four outfielders who seem to be “starters”, and two of them being left-handed hitters with the other two being right-handed hitters, being able to match things up here and there gives the Reds a lot of options. Nick Castellanos has been the best hitter of the bunch for his career, and he is probably the guy who, if everyone remains healthy all year, will wind up getting the most time in the lineup. He probably won’t play in right field every day. And he’s probably not likely to just be penciled into the designated hitter spot, either. What’s far more likely to happen is that he, like the other outfielders, will see a bit of both roles as manager David Bell tries to get everyone their at-bats, while also trying to maximize the efficiency of the lineup (both offensively and defensively) each day.