StaTuesday: Twins’ Willians 'La Tortuga' Astudillo doesn't strike out

BY Dave Heller • September 25, 2018

It hasn't taken long for Willians Astudillo to grow on Minnesota Twins fans.

Getting a chance to catch during September due to a rash of injuries to Minnesota's catchers, Astudillo has impressed with his defense (43 percent caught stealing rate), baserunning (who will ever forget him scoring from first base on a double, his hair flowing as he rounded third?) and at the plate.

Since Sept. 2, Astudillo has played in 12 games with 11 starts and is 17 for 44 (.386) with a pair of doubles and home runs and 11 RBI.

On the season, Astudillo is batting .338 (24 for 71) with a .521 slugging percentage. If he can maintain an average over .300 and a slugging percentage over .500, that would put Astudillo in some rare company in Twins history. Only 13 other players -- for a total of 16 times -- have hit at least .330 with a .500 slugging percentage (minimum 50 plate appearances).


































































































































PLAYER YEAR PA AVG SLG
Chuck Knoblauch 1996 701 .341 .517
Rod Carew 1977 694 .388 .570
Kirby Puckett 1988 691 .356 .545
Kirby Puckett 1987 668 .332 .534
Lyman Bostock 1977 660 .336 .508
Joe Mauer 2006 608 .347 .507
Joe Mauer 2009 606 .365 .587
Tony Oliva 1971 518 .337 .546
Justin Morneau 2010 348 .345 .618
Shane Mack 2010 347 .333 .564
Rod Carew 1970 204 .366 .524
Jerald Clark 1995 113 .339 .550
Chris Parmelee 2011 88 .355 .592
Josmil Pinto 2013 83 .342 .566
Willians Astudillo 2018 73 .338 .521
Mike Ryan 2003 68 .393 .754
Mark Salas 1987 51 .378 .622



Another amazing thing about Astudillo -- other than his versatility -- is his bat control.

Entering Tuesday's game, he had yet to strike out in September and has whiffed just twice all season.

This should come a not surprise as over his minor-league career Astudillo has struck out just 81 times in 2,264 at-bats, an AB/K of 27.96. But he's been even better in his brief time with the Twins.

Astudillo's AB/K ratio of 35.5 is nearly unheard of in this era of free swingers. The last player with a better ratio (min. 50 at-bats) was Tony Gwynn … in 1995.

In the expansion era (1961, also Minnesota's first year), Astudillo currently has the 17th-best AB/K ratio (min. 50 AB), with only he, Gwynn and Greg Gross among those with a 35.0 ratio in the past 30 years.























































































































































PLAYER YEAR AB K AB/K
Bob Bailor 1984 131 1 131.0
Tom Poquette 1981 66 1 66.0
Bob Heise 1967 62 1 62.0
Gary Hancock 1984 60 1 60.0
Nellie Fox 1962 621 12 51.8
Dave Cash 1976 666 13 51.2
Nellie Fox 1961 606 12 50.5
Ken Oberkfell 1978 50 1 50.0
Dan Meyer 1974 50 1 50.0
Greg Gross 1988 133 3 44.3
Bob Lillis 1966 164 4 41.0
Bob Lillis 1965 408 10 40.8
Larry Milbourne 1978 234 6 39.0
Tim Foli 1979 532 14 38.0
Matty Alou 1970 677 18 37.6
Felix Milan 1974 585 14 37.0
Dick Howser 1962 286 8 35.8
Tony Gwynn 1995 535 15 35.7
Willians Astudillo 2018 71 2 35.5
Vic Power 1961 563 16 35.2



This century only 12 other players have had an AB/K ratio of 20.0 or better, the majority of which were players with 127 or fewer at-bats, like Astudillo. The exceptions are Jeff Keppinger (241 AB, 20.1 AB/K) in 2007, Juan Pierre (617, 21.3) in 2001 and Placido Polanco (501, 20.0) in 2005.

In Twins history, Astudillo has the best AB/K ratio over a single season regardless of the number of at-bats. Only seven players -- for a total of 11 times -- have had a ratio of 18.0 or better. Unless Astudillo goes out of character and whiffs a few times in Minnesota's remaining few games, he'll become No. 8.































































































PLAYER YEAR AB K AB/K
Willians Astudillo 2018 71 2 35.5
Hal Naragon 1962 35 1 35.0
Jim Holt 1972 27 1 27.0
Brian Harper 1989 385 16 24.1
Brian Harper 1992 502 22 22.8
Vic Power 1963 541 24 22.6
Brian Harper 1991 441 22 20.0
Mickey Hatcher 1983 375 19 19.7
Augie Ojeda 2004 59 3 19.7
Mickey Hatcher 1985 444 23 19.3
Luis Gomez 1976 57 3 19.0
Brian Harper 1993 530 29 18.3



By the way, in case you're wondering, Astudillo struck out July 12 against Tampa Bay's Blake Snell and on Aug. 29 (a game in which he also hit his first career home run) vs. Cleveland's Tyler Olson.

Both strikeouts were swinging. We couldn't imagine it any other way.

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth's Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams - Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns

 



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