I’m dubbing Nick Castellanos Kid Linea.
“Linea” is Spanish for line. More relevantly, it's how you’ll hear line drives described in the dugout vernacular. Unless you’re facing Kershaw, an inning won’t pass on the bench without someone uttering, “That was an f’ing linea.”
When evaluating batted balls, the line drive is the most desirable outcome. Compared to both fly and ground balls, a line drive is much less likely to be turned into an out.
“A line drive won't necessarily be the hardest balls in play, but they do end up being hits at a lofty 75% clip,” according to sportingcharts.com.
In short, line-drive percentage matters. Kid Linea leads the American League as a rookie at 27.3 percent. Of course, this is a small sample size. Those players who have put up top numbers year after year have been amply rewarded by their teams. Since 2010, MLB’s three leaders in line-drive percentage are Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto and Joe Mauer. Those guys are really, really rich.
It’s still a little early to be making any declarations, but a few years of this behavior by KL could lead to a stuffed (with cash, not necessarily rings) safety-deposit box.