At 1:07 AM Eastern Time, friend of the site Yirmiyahu emailed us with this urgent query:
So, who the hell is Willians Astudillo? He’s lead the minors in lowest K rate for 3 consecutive years (0.9%, 1.8%, 4.8%). How are those numbers possible? Does he bunt every single time? Another fun fact: he’s played multiple games at 7 different positions.
Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t seem to know anything at all about this guy except for his stats pages. Seriously, I’m fascinated. If your sources cannot reveal any information about this guy, it’s your duty to make some shit up.
A quick look at Astudillo’s Fangraphs page reveals that he is indeed very good at not striking out. In three seasons with the Phillies Venezuelan Summer League team, Astudillo has struck out 16 times over 648 plate appearances. Better yet, after striking out 10 times in 2009 VSL play, he struck out just 4 times in 2010, and then 2 times last year. So, if the pattern holds this year, he is due to strike out between 0 and 1 times. That is indeed pretty remarkable.
Unfortunately, the explanation for Astudillo’s feat makes it appear significantly less impressive. Due to a little-known archaic rule of the Venezuelan Summer League, batters are permitted to go to the plate with canoe paddles instead of bats. Astudillo is one of the very few remaining players to take advantage of this rule. As you can imagine, canoe paddles represent a tradeoff of power for contact; in his 648 plate appearances, Astudillo has 35 extra base hits with just two home runs.
A few more things I can tell you about Astudillo:
-He was born on October 14, 1991.
-He is from Barcelona, Venezuela.
-He is right handed.
-He plays (or has played) numerous positions, including catcher, third base, and outfield.
A few things I cannot tell you about Willians Astudillo:
-His favorite book
-His favorite non-baseball hobby
-His favorite flavor of Jolly Rancher
-His biggest fear
-His favorite NotGraphs writer
I can, however, tell you what he looks like:
Obviously that is not OUR Willians Astudillo, because our Willians Astudillo was not born in 1974. This must be his father. Since we can safely assume (so long as Willians Junior is really Willians Senior’s progeny) that Willians Junior bears some resemblance to his father, we can say that this is what Willians Astudillo looks like.
Mr. Astudillo: if you are reading this, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to know more about you than can be gleaned from your Fangraphs and Baseball Reference pages. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? Etc. Etc.