The Twins recently made the decision to designate Willians Astudillo for assignment. The 30-year old utility man may be a logical pickup for the Brewers.
The Venezuelan native is not yet arbitration eligible, and has spent part of 4 seasons with Minnesota. With the Twins, he has played primarily catcher and third base, but has seen time at every spot on the field except for shortstop, serving as a super utility man.
The Brewers always have a penchant for players who can handle multiple positions. Recently DFA’ed Willians Astudillo could suit that need.
Despite being on a roster for parts of 4 seasons, Astudillo only has 533 career major league plate appearances, essentially a full season’s worth. Astudillo has not had a particularly impressive offensive career, having a slash line of .270/.295/.406, and a wRC+ of 86.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Astudillo that has endeared him to a subset of baseball fans, particularly those listeners of Effectively Wild, is his elite hit tool, and elite eye. Astudillo has an 80 grade hit tool per FanGraphs, which is the highest possible.
While Astudillo’s hit tool has not always translated to on-field production, he has a perplexing ability to almost always put the ball in play. In his 533 career plate appearances Astudillo has struck out 25 times and walked 10 times. You read that correctly. In an era when the strikeouts and walks are continually rising, Astudillo has walked in 1.9% of his PA, and struck out in 4.7% of his plate appearances.
When looking at the Brewers’ roster for the 2022 season there is definitely a gap that Astudillo could fill. After having 6 catchers at one time on the 40-man, the Brewers have 3 at the moment, All Star Omar Narvaez, prospect Mario Feliciano, and the recently signed Pedro Severino.
With Severino likely taking backup duties, Astudillo would be more of a candidate as a utility option, and perhaps even at DH some if that gets added to the National League in the next CBA. Should that arrive next season, the Brewers may have some at-bats to give Astudillo there should they want to sign him.
As a multi-positional player he would fit into the Brewers mold of having players who can slot into any spot on the infield, of course a right-handed batter off the bench is exactly what newly acquired Mike Brosseau does provide.
If the Brewers do look to entertain the possibility of Willians Astudillo they may find a backup catcher, who provides adequate defense and offense to fill in at not only catcher, but also anywhere in the infield on a spot-start frequency.