Sunday, December 23, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Willians Astudillo

Willians Astudillo, C/UT, Twins.  DOB:  10/14/1991.  B-R, T-R.  5'9", 225 lbs.

2018 AAA:  .276/.314/.469, 17 2B, 3B, 12 HR, 7 SB, 3.3 BB%, 4.6 K%, 307 PA.
2018 MLB:  .355/.371/.516, 4 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 2.1 BB%, 3.1 K%, 97 PA.
Career MILB:  .306/.336/.417, 103 2B, 2 3B, 27 HR, 13 SB, 2.70 BB%, 3.59 K%, 1813 PA.

Willians Astudillo is a sabermetric curiosity in that he just might be the greatest contact hitter in history.  He's a catcher by trade and certainly built like one, but also already played 3B, 2B, LF, 1 inning of CF and 1 inning of pitching in his brief MLB career, so there is obviously some athleticism there.  As you can see from the BB% and K%, dude just never walks and never K's.  He's got some gap power with occasional HR power.  His BA and OBP are obviously going to be enormously BABIP dependent, which is to say his BA is likely to regress to right around .300.

That profile is not generally going to excite fantasy owners much, except for the catcher part.  As we've shown in a previous post on the state of catching in MLB, you don't need that much offense from a catcher to make him a fantasy asset.  You are lucky if you can find one plus category and hope he doesn't hurt you too much in the rest.  Astudillo will likely give you a significantly better BA than most catching options without hurting too much in R and RBI and might even steal a base or 2.  He's not going to hit as many dingers as most catchers though.  He does gives you some position flexibility, although you will want to mostly play him at C.  The other issue is playing time.  Unless the Twins add a catcher in the offseason, his only real competition is from Jason Castro so it's not hard to see Astudillo as the Twins starting C.  The flexibility helps in that department too.  Fantasy owners should monitor the Twins offseason carefully and if they don't add a C, Astudillo could be a savvy steal on draft day.

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