Tigers top prospect appears to be off limits

This is the time of year when the Tigers usually send their scouts across baseball to look at potential trade targets. So it seems curious when the Tigers scout one of their own.

That was the scene Monday in Erie, where Tigers special assistant David Chadd — one of the organization’s top player evaluators — was in town. Presumably, he was watching top hitting prospect Nick Castellanos in his fifth game since moving from third base to right field. Another member of the Tigers scouting department was also spotted in attendance. For that matter, the Tigers had one of their big league scouts watching Castellanos last week while the SeaWolves were on the road.

How many scouts from other teams were watching Castellanos Monday night wasn’t immediately clear, but between the attention of their own officials and observations from other clubs, the Tigers aren’t likely to offer Castellanos as part of a July trade.

“They love him,” said one official with another club who has been in contact with the Tigers.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted Monday that the Tigers are telling teams that Castellanos is not available.

Castellanos broke out of a two-game mini-slump Monday with a home run as part of a two-hit game, raising his average back above .300 with Erie and .365 for the year between there and Class A Lakeland. He began the year as the Tigers’ top hitting prospect, but his .405 average over two months at Lakeland vaulted him among the top prospects in baseball before he won MVP honors at last week’s All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City with three hits and three RBIs, including a home run to center field at Kauffman Stadium.

— Jason Beck

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