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MessaggioInviato: Lun Apr 29 2019, 04:54:48    Oggetto:
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, it seemed that Jason Castro would be backed up by Mitch Garver, but Willians Astudillo has forced his way into the picture."I think a shrug of the shoulders is what probably gave Willians Astudillo his first opportunity in the major leagues. Following a crash into the outfield fence and subsequent concussion, the placement of super-utility Taylor Motter on the 7-day disabled list opened up a roster spot for a new position player. With no other outstanding options, it was as if the Twins just said, “Why not?” and called up the catcher/third baseman/left fielder.There was no ignoring Astudillo’s success at the plate in spite of his unique approach. With a career minor league batting average above .300 and OPS over .750, he would have been a shoo-in for a promotion as a catcher. The thing is, he never walked. His walk rate of 3.5% has been done before, usually by hyper-aggressive batters that always looked to put the ball in play. However, he didn’t strike out, either. Just 3.3% of the time, Astudillo walked back to the dugout as a strikeout victim. A player could do that in a week, but with the major league average around 21% this year, whiffing as little as Astudillo shouldn’t have been humanly possible. The high-contact attack was intriguing but so unusual that it was understandable if teams were scared off. If his odd offensive approach might be his first strike (pun not intended), his second was that Astudillo could be best described as, uh, “portly.” Billy Beane said in “Moneyball” about fellow catcher Jeremy Brown that we’re not selling jeans here, bristling that ballplayers had to have a certain appearance
, but it’s remained a fact that organizations typically go after the projectable, athletic build. Regarding Astudillo, the only way we’d project his body was to see how far he could make it on the Bartolo Colon Lookalike Scale.Along with possibly discovering just how round could be too round for baseball, there likely was the fear that Astudillo wouldn’t be able to man a position much longer. While he was typically a catcher, he also was seeing time at 3rd base and left field as teams sought to make him more versatile. With a sprint speed of 24.7 ft/sec (major league average is around 27 ft/sec), he wasn’t going to cut it in left field for very long. Leaving 3rd base and catcher, it didn’t seem likely that a short, hefty guy could stick at the hot corner, so that left him stuck behind the plate.Nevertheless, the Twins did give him a shot around the field at the beginning. His major league debut put him in left field and eventually center field as his teammates dropped like flies under the Chicago sun. His next seven appearances occurred just about everywhere expect as a catcher, partially due to the presence of Mitch Garver and Bobby Wilson but also potentially because the Twins didn’t trust Astudillo as the receiving end of the battery. but rather his defense, as he’s thrown out just 18.8% of basestealers, averages about 1.4 passed balls and 4.86 wild pitches allowed per 100 defensive innings, and has been 101st out of 115 catchers in called strikes above average. Garver’s appeal was his bat as a catcher, yet Astudillo has been the better hitter despite being allergic to walks, and suddenly it seems that Astudillo should be the backup catcher in 2019, with the potential of even being a starting catcher in the near future. However
, this is not how baseball works as contracts, options, and roster flexibility all come into play. I’m assuming that the Twins will enter the 2019 season with Castro and Garver on the active roster while optioning Astudillo to the minors as depth and the first replacement should Castro or Garver get hurt since he’ll have more minor league options than the other two. Even with offensive regression, Astudillo has looked to be an equal or superior hitter than Garver and thus far has been a better defender, so I feel that he has a good argument for starting the 2019 season on the active roster. Hell, the Twins could even do Ron Gardenhire’s favorite roster trick and carry three catchers anyway, especially while nodding at Astudillo’s ability to play 3rd base and left field. Regardless of the outcome, the organization will have some thinking to do this offseason about their plans behind the plate for the upcoming year. The San Francisco Giants are reportedly on the hunt for Bryce Harper.According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Giants "plan to offer Harper a lucrative short-term deal, but have no desire to provide a long-term contract approaching the 10-year, $300 million contract Harper rejected from the Washington Nationals in September."Nightengale also reported that "one high-ranking rival executive boldly predicts the Giants will ultimately sign the 26-year-old star."Signing Harper would be a departure from San Francisco's offseason plans to this point. As Nightengale noted, the team was prioritizing getting younger and more athletic and had only spent $9 million in free agency. The Giants were also listening to trade offers for their older players and reportedly hadn't even engaged with Harper until last week.While teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Nationals and San Diego Padres have been linked to Harper throughout the offseason, the Giants would be a surprising new contender and, at the very least, will provide the slugger with a bit more leverage in negotiations.Of course
, the Giants and the Bay Area are hoping to be more than just leverage. Even Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made his pitch to Harper:Warriors on NBCS NBCSWarriorsCoach Kerr has a message for you, Bharper3407 KpNthKUBtM"Bryce, come to the Giants," he said. "Let's go!""We want to be able to pursue players to bring championships back to the Giants' fans," Giants president Larry Baer said at the team's FanFest, per Nightengale. "Bryce Harper is an amazing player. It's very hard, these are competitions, and I can't handicap it."One factor remaining in these negotiations will be where Manny Machado signs and which of the two players comes to a contract agreement first and sets the market. For teams like the Phillies, Machado would be the consolation prize for potentially missing out on Harper and vice versa. In that way, the fact that both remain unsigned provides some leverage to teams, who can simply take their best offer to both players.Thus far, however, Machado and Harper haven't blinked either. It's a high-stakes game of chicken, one that threatens to last into spring training.
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MessaggioInviato: Lun Apr 29 2019, 04:54:48    Oggetto: Adv

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