Monday, September 10, 2018

Astunding Astudillo

I don't know if Willians Astudillo is a major league catcher. I do know he's fun to watch, and a one-man solution to pace of play issues.

His homer on Sunday afternoon gives him three in his limited MLB at-bats. He also has two walks and zero strikeouts. Yes, it's just 38 plate appearances. Those are still astunding ratios (see what I did there?) and, at least in the walk and strikeout categories, of a piece with his minor league record.

Twins fans of a certain age remember another catcher of dubious defensive skills who seldom walked or struck out. Brian Harper was a pretty valuable backstop for a few years and helped win a World Series.

The mold may be the same for Harper and Astudillo, but the applicable skills may be pitched differently. Harper didn't throw well and was not a great receiver, but I believe Tom Kelly trusted him as a pitch caller.

I know this: I'd rather see Paul Molitor divvy up the catching chores this month between Mitch Garver and Astudillo than see Chris Gimenez prominent in the mix.

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