Twins utilityman Willians Astudillo cleared release waivers and is now a free agent, per a team announcement. Left-hander Charlie Barnes, meanwhile, went unclaimed on outright waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A St. Paul. He’ll remain with the club but will no longer require a 40-man roster spot. Both players were designated for assignment Friday.
Astudillo, 30, made his big league debut with the Twins back in 2018 and has since displayed an uncommon skill set and fairly rare level of defensive versatility. “La Tortuga” has played every position on the diamond, with the exception of shortstop. Astudillo worked as a catcher and corner infielder with the Phillies in his early days as a prospect and has continued to add more positions to his defensive profile. He’s not considered a plus defender anywhere, but Astudillo embodies the “jack of all trades, master of none” profile quite well.
More interesting is Astudillo’s unorthodox skill set at the plate. As free a swinger as there is in the game, the right-handed-hitting Astudillo also possesses uncanny bat-to-ball skills. He’s struck out just 25 times in 533 career plate appearances (4.7%), but his frequent hacking has led to an even smaller 1.9% walk rate. Astudillo has a bit of raw power, but he swings so early and so often, with such high contact rates, that he rarely finds himself in position to get a pitch to drive. Since 2018 (min. 500 plate appearances), Astudillo has the third-highest swing rate (60.1%) of any player in baseball and the second-highest contact rate (91.5%) — trailing only his now-former teammate Luiz Arraez in that regard.
Astudillo was arbitration-eligible and projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn a $1.2MM salary in 2022. Coming off a .236/.259/.375 slash in 216 plate appearances, however, it seems the Twins preferred not to allocate those dollars or a 40-man roster spot to him — particularly with so many prospects needing to be added to the 40-man roster. (Minnesota selected six players Friday.) Astudillo can now sign with any team.
The 26-year-old Barnes is a former fourth-rounder who made his big league debut out of necessity to help soak up some innings in an injury-ruined season for the Twins. He was clobbered for a 5.92 ERA while striking out just 20 of the 175 batters he faced, however. Barnes is a strike-throwing changeup artist whose fastball averaged just 89.9 mph in the Majors. However, he did managed a solid 3.79 ERA with a 19.1% strikeout rate and a 7.4% walk rate in 76 innings at the Triple-A level. He’ll stick with the organization for now and hope for another opportunity in 2022. As it stands, the Twins have a perilously thin mix of starting options, but Minnesota is expected to add several starters this winter.
Nooooooooooooo el tortuga!
“La Tortuga” not “El Tortuga”.
A turtle and a pitcher who got shelled.
Willians has lolmets written all over it. Unfortunately.
Yes! Can’t wait.
Zero chance that happens
I would release him too with that ERA
D Backs all over it . This guy has me on the fence about Jasson Dominguez as a possible trade for Matt Olson . He could be this guy with a whole bunch of strikeouts His body shape is definitely heading that way .
Maybe he will sign with the White Sox to play at AAA with Yermin
The Baseball Fan (Doesn’t like the Cubs)
I don’t want to see the fights that would happen there.
Big mistake! What are the Twins doing?
Big mistake? he’s horrible. I’d rather have strikeouts than pop-ups to 2nd base when he lunges for a bad pitch just to make contact. although, if they ate going to waste a roster spot, I’d rather have him than the even worse Jake Cave. it almost seems that Falvey is getting paid under the table by Cleveland.
I’d assume this stems from the “base-brawl” and is not indicative of his actual value.
Danny Trejo is the one and only La Tortuga!
You’re @$% damn right… – Walter White
Lol way to censor god & not damn
I figured somebody would get a kick out of that! Happy Thanksgiving
OMFG! Willians Astudillo has been let go? Who’s the last fat guy left? Alejandro Kirk? Dan Vogelbach? This is depressing couch potatoes everywhere!
Oh, and BTW he also pitches!!!
We need Big Sexy back!!
I’m here, what’s happening y’all?!
Isn’t Pablo Sandoval still on a roster somewhere?
Where’s Mike Ford?
He’s a talented athlete. He’d be even more useful if he could improve his conditioning and plate discipline.
@ mute button
Why do you mention conditioning? Hopefully not Because of his weight?
Andrew Jones topped out at 250 lb
Ok but none that you mention were made better by being overweight. It wasn’t good for any of them, and it certainly isn’t any good for a guy who earns his keep as a utility player. If you’re going to move around the diamond and be as much of a defensive asset as you can, it only makes sense to be trim.
You can be good in spite of being overweight, but you’re never better by being so.
I ain’t no athlete lady, I’m a ballplayer.
He’s got a great swing, when coming from someone’s blindside
Bearded Texas Hulk
Rangers should be all over the turtle.
The Astros should sign Austudillo. Yuli Gurriel once very impatient, but learned his way to a batting title at age 37. The Turtle has crazy bat to ball skills just like Yuli.
Yes that’s what the article said
Barnes will probably be named the pitching coach now.
That’s all well and good. Now, what are you gonna do with the rotation Derek Falvey and or Thad Levine? A whole lot of the viable free agent options are already off the board and I have not saw heard or read “MN Twins are in on” any of them. Let me take a wild guess… you guys will leak some false intel saying how you were all over the big guns but couldn’t get it done. Well boys, I’m telling you that you’ve probably came to the end of the patience line with your fan base and your tired excuses. The clock on the wall tells me the sun is going down on your facade you claim is a good way to run a ball club. Also pony up and pay Buxton. I know you to are certainly wasting your time reading the comment section on this site because you clearly aren’t doing anything else.
Any team that picks up Astudillo will regret it, because the fans will revolt when he’s cut. (That was my thought when the Twins got him initially.)
The Taysom Hill of baseball