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Willians Astudillo and the backup catcher question

Can Willians Astudillo make the opening day roster?

Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Marwin Gonzalez signing was a pretty dang good move in a vacuum. However nothing happens in a vacuum, (except literally everything if you zoom out far enough) and his inclusion means someone else’s exclusion. That exclusion has a pretty good chance of being utilityman/catcher and international sex icon, Willians Astudillo.

Here’s some cursory roster crunching for you: Erasing the (probable) 13 pitchers and the starting lineup we have an entire 3 spots left. New friend Marwin seems a lock for the utility infielder slot, and carrying an actual fourth outfielder seems like maybe a good decision. That leaves the backup catcher spot.

“But Tawny, Astudillo is a catcher!” you may have just yelled at your computer or phone. I can’t hear you though, that’s not how technology works. You can not stop this. Everyone’s favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle certainly CAN catch, but is his utility ability (say “utility ability” aloud, it is super fun!) enough to push him past probably backup Mitch Garver?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes, and we’re going to go with the long answer because I still have jokes to make. Let’s take a look at a few categories.

Wins Above Replacement:

Using straight bWAR from last season, Astudillo actually beat out Garver by an entire .1 wins. In fact Wild Wild Willians racked up his 1.0 WAR in a measly 97 plate appearances, 238 fewer than Mitch. However, that’s just, like, the past MAN. Let’s take a look at some projections. ZIPS loves Astudillo, in fact it projects him at 2.0 WAR and the most playing time among the catchers. His projected WAR doubles probable starter Jason Castro’s and dwarfs the 0.7 projected for The Garve.

Point Astudillo.


For some reason I always think Astudillo is a mediocre catcher, but that must just be me being an idiot, because Astudillo performed reasonably well in his (admittedly small) time behind the plate. He caught base thieves at a 33% clip (to Garver’s 18%) which is above the 28% league rate for the year. He also let zero balls pass, which is a very admirable talent. Astudillo also overshadows Garv in pretty much every fielding metric one can find.

Point Astudillo.

Minor League Options:

Both Garver and Armored Armadillo Astudillo have minor league options left. However Astudillo has 3 to Garver’s 2, giving the Twins more future flexibility if Garver starts the year as the backup ball catchman.

Point Garver.


Why not? I’m sick of pretending I’m good at real analysis! Both the catch boyz pitched one inning in relief last year. Garver’s inning was a real beauty, giving up one hit and no runs. Astudillo however gave 5 runs on 5 hits and 2 dingers. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU GUYS STOP LAUGHING AT ME.

Point Garver.

The Tie Breaker:

We once thought such intangibles to be immeasurable, but I’m here to introduce to you my new metric, CAR. Curvature Above Replacement.

According to an unquestionably scientific google search, the average weight of a major league baseball player is 207lbs, while the average height was 6’2”. This gives the platonic body of a Major Leaguer a BMI of 26.6.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a somewhat quick and dirty value derived from mass and height to determine if a single person falls into various categories like underweight, healthy, and overweight. Overly high and very low BMI have been linked to various health issues, and some European countries have even banned the usage of fashion models with egregiously low BMIs in certain instances to help combat anorexia.

The MLB average BMI of 26.6 is actually slightly in the “overweight” category, likely due to the unusual amount of muscle pro athletes build up. However as Astudillo and Bartolo Colon have proven: We like ‘em even bigger!

The 6’1” and 220 pound Garver snags a BMI of 29 and thus a CAR of 2.4. The 5’9 Astudillo is officially 225 pounds, and while that seems a bit off, we’ll roll with it. This gives him a 5.6 CAR. An amazing value!

Astudillo wins!


Astudillo is the clear winner here, and the poster boy for Curvature Above Replacement. Will he actually break camp with the team? I have no idea. I just wanted to analyze his curvature as a joke after saying in the very last thing I wrote that I did not want to do that. With Jason Castro being signed to real human money and Astudillo having more options than Garver, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Willy Astudillo and the Chocolate Factory start the year in Rochester.

(The real loser of the Marwin signing is likely Ehire Adrianza or Jake Cave, btw.)

Make sure you don’t take all this talk of body weight too seriously! You are beautiful however you are and the only one who can decide the healthy weight for you is you!


Who should start the season as the Twins’ back up catcher?

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