Entering the game on Wednesday night Nick Castellanos seemed to be feeling well and hitting everything. Then he came up to the plate in the bottom of the first and made sure no one forgot about that fact as he hit a home run 400+ feet to dead center field off of Tristan McKenzie.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 18, 2021
The Reds right fielder would single in his next at-bat and then he’d leave the game and be replaced by Mark Payton. Castellanos left the game sooner than all of the other starters did, but after the game manager David Bell noted that there’s nothing wrong with him, he was just finished for the day. When he did leave the game he was hitting .391/.417/.783 on the spring.
When Mark Payton took over in right field he simply picked up where Castellanos had left off at the plate. Or perhaps he just picked up where he had last left off at the plate, going 2-3 with a run and an RBI of his own. Before the night was over he would play all three outfield spots and finished the night with a .474 average, a .583 on-base percentage, and an .895 slugging percentage on the spring. He’s also walked more times than he’s struck out.
While spring training stats don’t matter much, if you’re going to look at them it’s always going to give you a better feeling when the stats are good. And for Mark Payton they are more than good. They’re great (if you didn’t read this in Tony the Tiger’s voice…..)! He could be playing himself into a spot on the opening day roster, especially with Shogo Akiyama expected to begin the season on the injured list and that opening up a spot that otherwise may not have been available.
“He’s been on fire, just really swinging the bat well,” said Bell after the game of Payton. “He can hit. He’s a good offensive player – he has a lot of confidence at the plate and in his ability, too. He knew he was a little off, maybe for the first week of camp and he knew he was just an adjustment away and he asked for some extra at-bats in a B-game and really since then he’s been locked in.”