Fan favorite Willians Astudillo smacked a home run over the wall in left field during Friday's exhibition game between the Twins and Orioles in Florida.
Astudillo's position flexibility could help him land one of Minnesota's 25 roster spots, but it's not yet clear if he's in line to be a reserve on the 25-man roster, the starting catcher or an everyday player at Triple-A Rochester.
He's in competition for the starting catcher job with Jason Castro and Mitch Garver.
Castro, who also homered in Friday's game against the Orioles, is considered one of the top pitch-framing catchers in the big leagues while Astudillo appears to have a more potent bat.
Offensively, here's how Castro, Astudillo and Garver compare so far this spring (through 6 innings of Friday's game).
- Castro: .200/.292/.500, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SO, 3 BB
- Astudillo: .237/.250/.421, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SO, 0 BB
- Garver: 138/.194/.414, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 7 SO, 2 BB
None of them have been entirely impressive at the plate, but it's hard to ignore how much fans love Astudillo and the fact that he basically never strikes out. He struck out just three times in 93 at-bats last season and has yet to go down swinging or looking this spring.
And remember, he hit .355 with three homers and 21 RBI last season, including an impressive final month of September when he hit .388 in 67 at-bats.
The Twins open the regular season in 13 days (Mar. 28) and the catcher battle might very well go down to the wire. If he doesn't win the starting catcher job, he could have a safety net with the Miguel Sano likely out until May – a roster spot that he could easily fill.
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