Nick Castaneda

From BR Bullpen


Nicolas Robert Castaneda

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 5", Weight 205 lb.

Minors BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Nick Castaneda spent five seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system, from 1980 to 1984 after being selected by the club in the eighth round of the 1980 amateur draft. After hitting .300 at two levels in '82, he spent the next three years in the high-A Carolina League, hitting 15 homers twice. In his last year in the system, he hit .274/~.464/.508 for the Prince William Pirates, posting a better OBP than Barry Bonds would do a year later there.

With his career seemingly stagnant, the Pirates let Castaneda go, though he was just 22. In 1985 he signed with the Mexico City Tigers and hit .318 with 15 homers. The next year he took full advantage of the highest-paced offense in Mexican League history, thanks to the Commando ball. Castaneda hit 53 homers, as many as he had in his prior four seasons combined - this would have broken the Liga record, except for the fact that Jack Pierce hit 54 that year. Castaneda hit .412/~.558/.904; his average and OBP were second to Willie Aikens, who set a new batting average record. Castaneda led the league in slugging, presumably setting the league record. He scored 141 runs, breaking Bobby Avila's 26-year old record of 125; it still is the highest total in Liga history. He drove in 147, good enough to break Alfred Pinkston's record of 144, but two other guys (Aikens and Pierce) drove in more. Castaneda also drew 128 bases on balls, second to Al Greene, who set that record. It sure was a fine year for the DH for the San Luis Potosi Pear Dealers. He was the last player to hit 50 or more home runs in a minor league season (as of 2017).

In '87, Castaneda again did well, but was limited to 55 games, presumably by injury. In 1988, offensive levels were down a bit, but Castaneda remained a star, now for the Yucatan Lions. Nick hit .374/~.492/.667 to win his first batting title (just 2 points ahead of Nelson Barrera, 3 ahead of Trench Davis, 4 ahead of Darryl Motley and five ahead of David Villagomez).

In 1989 Castaneda returned to his native country to play for the Omaha Royals. The 26-year old DH/1B did well, batting .268/~.398/.483, but didn't get a look from the Kansas City Royals at the major-league level. He missed much of the year after being injured in a brawl, which may have cost him his chance at The Show.

The next year Castaneda went back to Mexico and won his second batting title in his three years, batting .388 with an OBP around .540 and a slugging percentage of .679; he drew 90 walks and bashed 22 home runs.

Castaneda got his last chance at the affiliated minors in 1991 with the Louisville Redbirds. A backup for the Redbirds, he hit .271/~.393/.429, once more putting up respectable numbers at AAA but not appearing in the major leagues.

In '92, Castaneda returned to Mexico to stay. Playing for Monterrey, he had his last big year in the Liga, hitting .361/~.465/.644 with 29 homers, 95 RBI and 94 walks. He was 8th in average, third in homers and 4th in walks. He did fine his last three years in Mexico, but his playing time kept declining (more injuries?) and he retired after limited action in 1995.

In his career in the Mexican League, Nick Castaneda hit .369/~.503/.690, presumably posting the best OPS in the history of the Liga. In 644 games, he scored 509 runs, drove in 563, drew 554 walks and homered 168 times. Among players with 1,200 or more at-bats in Mexico, Castaneda's average ranks 3 points behind leaders Aikens and Pinkston and his slugging percentage is the highest.

Primary source: "The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics" by Pedro Treto Cisneros