Is Willians Astudillo Baseball’s Best Pure Hitter?

I saw that Willians Astudillo was placed on the 10-Day Injured List today, and it made me sad.  Astudillo is one of MLB’s most interesting players.

Sometime last season I read a post on fangraphs.com about Astudillo‘s unique skill set: he almost never walks or strikes out.  He also apparently can hit .300 at the major league level.

Swing at everything — hit .300.  That sounds like baseball’s best pure hitter.

Sure, small sample size.  Sure, his defense isn’t great, and he runs like a truck with the grounded into double plays to follow, but fangraphs.com says he’s been worth $7.9 million in only 44 career games.

At age 27 and listed as 5’9″ and 225 lbs, Astudillo is still something of a dark horse, which makes him easier to root for.  Yogi Berra is a better, 1950’s version of Astudillo.  So maybe Astudillo could still develop the kind of power Yogi had and become a true, if brief, superstar.

Astudillo also reminds me of the Round Mound of Pound, like Berra a historically great bad-ball hitter.  If I were AL pitchers, I would not throw Astudillo more than one strike per at bat until he proves he will take a walk.

Maybe Astudillo will stop hitting when pitchers figure out his weaknesses and throw him fewer stikes, maybe he won’t.  He is an exceptional talent, and I’m sorry he he will be out for any period in a season where he still needs to prove he’s a major league player.

It’s apparently a ham-string injury, so Astudillo could miss well more than 10 games.  You need to do all of your stretching regularly when you are a 27 year old player trying to establish himself.

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