June 24, 2024

Manager Rob Thomson suggests that the awkward attempt made by Nick Castellanos on a sixth-inning Jake Fraley double Wednesday night may have appeared to result from various factors affecting the Phillies’ right fielder. Throughout the season, spanning six games, Castellanos’ defensive performance has fallen short of expectations.

Philadelphia Phillies' Talented Outfielder Fighting For Career This Spring  - Sports Illustrated Inside The Phillies

It’s conceivable that his defense, which notably improved in 2023 following a lackluster 2022, is regressing. Alternatively, his struggles at the plate with a .150/.292/.150 slash line could be impacting his outfield performance. Another possibility is that age is catching up to the 32-year-old, with his skills perhaps showing more signs of decline than advancement. However, according to Thomson, the primary reason behind Castellanos’ difficulties lies elsewhere.

Because Castellanos feels like he’s too close to the scoreboard, which is not actually the case. He has more space than he realizes, so it might take him some time to adjust to the new layout.

Despite the Phillies not changing their outfield dimensions over the offseason, they made significant alterations to the out-of-town scoreboard, transforming it into a more prominent fixture filled with advanced stats, advertisements, and larger video displays. Although the scoreboard remains in the same location as before, the updated design is much more conspicuous compared to the previous decades. Navigating a ball aimed towards a section of the scoreboard amidst a visually vibrant display could potentially affect a fielder’s ability to maintain spatial awareness.

Thomson’s explanation about the scoreboard may be more acceptable for a team performing well, but it might not be as well-received when the team is struggling and Castellanos is not performing up to par.

While it would be advantageous for the Phillies if Castellanos quickly adapts to the new scoreboard, his defensive capabilities are of secondary concern, especially with Johan Rojas positioned to his right. Castellanos’ primary focus should be on hitting, as he has struck out frequently in the early part of the season and has a high chase rate, which is among the lowest percentile in MLB.

Unless Castellanos improves his performance soon, it may be difficult to overlook his lackluster stats, which are prominently displayed on the new scoreboard in right field at Citizens Bank Park. Ironically, the more challenging it is to see his stats, the easier it might be for him to track a fly ball.

Official Philadelphia Phillies Website | MLB.com

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