Willians Astudillo has a message for his doubters: What's up now?
Those aren't La Tortuga's exact words, but the 5-foot-9 Twins sensation put out a message on Instagram Friday telling a short story of how his physical appearance has given baseball evaluators all the ammo they needed to doubt him in the past. But not anymore.
"All my minor league career I heard I was not going to be a big leaguer because I did not "look" like one. I was too short. I was too stocky. I did not have the physical traits customary associated with a Major League player. Well here I am. So let that be a lesson to anyone reading this who has ever been told that their physical appearance limits their ability. It does not. And if anyone ever tries to come at you with that, just knock'em out of the way and stay focused on your goals and the path to get there."
Astudillo, 5-foot-9 and 225 pounds, might not have the physique of Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but there's no arguing that he's got some of the best hand-eye coordination of any professional athlete on the planet. He's struck out just three times in 108 career MLB plate appearances, including ZERO in three games this season and ZERO in all of spring training.
Those numbers don't tell the whole story.
If you add up all of his strikeouts in 10 years as a professional, be it in MLB, minor leagues or the Venezuelan Winter League, he's struck out a grand total of 99 times in 3,249 plate appearances.
In contrast, the man Astudillo is helping replace, Miguel Sano, who is injured, has struck out 1,149 times in 3,779 career plate appearances in eight years between MLB, the minors and foreign leagues.
- Astudillo pro strikeout rate: 1 every 32.8 plate appearances
- Sano pro strikeout rate: 1 every 3.28 plate appearances.
And no, the decimal isn't in the wrong place for either player.
Astudillo has six hits in nine at-bats this season, and the way he's cooking with a bat in his hand should soon force Twins manager Rocco Baldelli to keep him in the lineup every day.
Minnesota opens a three-game road series against the Phillies on Friday night.