This is a guest post submitted by Brandon Tamburri. If you want to read more from Brandon, you can find additional work at TPR Sports!
Willians Astudillo isn’t a name that you will see on too many top prospect lists. However, that could all change pretty soon due to two simple facts; the guy can flat out hit and he does not strike out. Even though he is listed as a catcher, it doesn’t matter where on the diamond the Philadelphia Phillies put Astudillo because he continues to put up numbers. Over the course of his professional career, Astudillo has played every position except pitcher and centerfield. This year, he has spent the majority of his time at first base (42 games) but Astudillo definitely profiles better as a catcher.
After signing with the Phillies in December of 2008, Astudillo spent three seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League before coming stateside. In three seasons playing in Venezuela, Astudillo only struck out 16 times in 568 total at-bats, which translates to a 2.82% strikeout rate. A strikeout rate that low is completely unheard of. In 2011, which was his last season playing in Venezuela, Astudillo hit .361 in 52 games; and if hitting .361 wasn’t enough, he also had 15 walks, which is crazy considering he only struck out twice the entire season.
When Astudillo moved to the states for the 2012 season, he continued to produce, batting .318 in 45 games while only striking out 5 times. Prior to the 2013 season, Astudillo suffered a left knee injury that caused him to miss the entire season. However, Astudillo did not let the injury get to him and he came back stronger than ever. He has spent the entire 2014 season playing for the Lakewood Blueclaws, the Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Through 95 games so far this season, Astudillo has hit .315 and struck out only 17 times.
At 22 years old, and still in Class A, Astudillo still has a long way to go. But if he keeps up this type of production, there is no reason why he shouldn’t begin to climb up prospect lists in the near future. Willians Astudillo will surely be a fun prospect to keep an eye on as he continues his journey through the Philadelphia Phillies farm system.