CHICAGO – With three weeks remaining in the season, Nick Castellanos is on pace to win a batting title.
The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had a batting champion since Pete Rose won his third batting title in 1973. Scooter Gennett led the league as late as Sept. 15 in 2018, but he finished second in the National League, 16 points behind Christian Yelich.
Castellanos leads the NL with a .320 batting average entering Wednesday’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs, a fraction ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Trea Turner (.320). Injured Reds outfielder Jesse Winker is third in the NL with a .307 batting average.
“I think that to hitters, rightfully so, it’s really important,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I think it’s an important stat. I think it’s something that is probably more important to the actual hitters than maybe it is to the people that evaluate statistics just because the daily grind of the game is affected a lot by whether or not you get a hit or get multiple hits.”
Castellanos is a career .279 hitter, peaking with a .298 batting average in 2018 when he was with the Detroit Tigers. He’s hitting .368 at Great American Ball Park this season and .274 on the road.
Batting average has been devalued in some circles as advanced statistics are more encompassing of several offensive categories.
“People devalue a lot of things that are really important to win baseball games,” Castellanos said. “Average, of course. Always when you were growing up, the players that were really respected as good hitters and productive players are the ones that got hits, had high averages, hit for extra-base hits, hit homers, drove in runs and scored runs.”
Castellanos, an All-Star starter, entered Wednesday on a seven-game hitting streak, which included four multi-hit games. He’s hit safely in 18 of his last 21 games.
“It’s been really impressive to watch because this game just keeps getting harder and harder,” Kris Bryant said. “You don’t really see guys that are able to have that high batting average like that. I don’t know where it’s at right now, but it’s up there and it’s hard to do that. It’s really impressive.”
What does it mean to Castellanos that he’s hitting above .300?
“Of course, you always want to do that at least once in your career to say that you’ve hit .300 in the big leagues,” he said. “I’d much rather hit .300 in the big leagues than hit .200 and have 100 walks. I don’t like the walk, strikeout or homer approach.”
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Reds’ Nick Castellanos on track for batting title
Source: Yahoo Sports