Infielder Willians Astudillo has signed with the Fukuoka SoftBanks Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, tweets Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Astudillo, a client of the MAS Agency, will be guaranteed $1.35MM on the deal.
Astudillo has generated plenty of fanfare in recent years. A utility option for the Twins and Marlins, he has one of the rarest profiles in the sport. Astudillo is the antithesis of the three-true-outcomes hitter that has gained so much prevalence in the modern game. He virtually never walks, rarely strikes out and has modest power. Astudillo has appeared in the majors in each of the past five seasons, tallying 588 cumulative plate appearances. He’s a .267/.291/.396 hitter over that stretch, striking out just 4.8% of the time with a 1.9% walk rate.
After four seasons in the Twin Cities, the Venezuela native was non-tendered last winter. He landed with the Marlins on a minor league contract last offseason. Astudillo would appear in 21 big league contests but spent most of the season at Triple-A Jacksonville. The right-handed hitter had an excellent season as a Jumbo Shrimp, putting up a .307/.371/.541 line with 16 longballs in only 315 trips to the plate. Astudillo had one more walk than strikeouts (17 to 16).
A catching prospect earlier in his career, Astudillo has mostly moved to the infield in recent years. He still occasionally goes behind the plate, starting four games there in Jacksonville in 2022. More of his experience has come at third and second base, though he also can play first base and the corner outfield. Astudillo isn’t a great defender anywhere; moving him around the diamond has more served to get his high-contact bat in the lineup.
This will be the first stint in an Asian professional league for the 31-year-old. His salary with the Hawks is well above what he’d have been guaranteed if he signed another minor league contract with an MLB team this offseason.
L A T O R T U G A
But seriously though, good to see him get a guaranteed deal. He deserves it.
I have 14 toes total
He’s honestly a legend
Thank you! Usually people make fun of me, not consider me a legend. Can you call me “LegendairyToes”? Cause they’re legendary and also milky!
Got mad love for the toes ;0. I was honestly thinking about what Aaron Judge’s toes look like…
Probably large and hairy, those cleat toes can get preeettttyyyy gross if you know what I’m saying
40000 million dollar hairy toes
I’d suck for a buck
Say it ain’t so Astudillo!
Pedro Martinez’s Mango Tree
Did he not call Chaim Bloom? He’s exactly the kind of player he signs
Or even Miami. They have holes to fill and are doing nothing to fill them.
Bart Harley Jarvis
Willians ‘Two Bills’ Astudillo?
Glad to see “La Tortuga” signing on for decent money. Good luck to him. He was a fun player to cheer on.
Hahahaha Oh man they are gonna love this guy out there.
La Tortuga is about to have something like a .300/.350/.500 season and will find his way back stateside before he knows it. See you soon Willians!
duffy’s hahah I am almost sure of it!!
Peart of the game
Probably not, even if he hits for decent power because he doesn’t draw walks like that, although sometimes he’s more prone to getting hit by pitches.
H E Pennypacker
Now who’s gonna close for the Marlins?
A Directive from the FCC….
If any of your on air talent even so much as to try and pronounce the name Fukuoka Hawks on the air. You’ll risk losing your FCC licsense along with a 7 figure fine.
Is WHO okay?
Softbank is probably the richest team in Asia so two thumbs up for this fella.
Used to be the Giants, but the Hawks are most definitely the powerhouse of the NPB now
La Tortuga soup will be a hit at the ballpark
La Tortuga is 1 coaching moment from being a top hitter…. If he controlled the zone… he’d be a hitting star.. As a Twin Fan I miss him..
Tortuga did fine as a Jumbo Shrimp so he will swim overseas and soar through the sky.
Larry Bernandez 1324IM
La Tortuga is just a shell of what he once was
Sounds like the perfect guy for the athletics
This man is going to play all 12 positions over there in Japan I know it!
Our loss is their gain. Long may you run, La Tortuga!
His bat to ball skills will play well in the NPB. Now his defensive short comings? Probably not so much
A Zero-True-Outcome player.
“Astudillo had an excellent season as a Jumbo Shrimp”
Isn’t that redundant?
Williams Astudillo and Maikey Franco former Phillies phenoms reunited on same Japanese team in same season. Brilliant! Good luck to them both hope to see em both back in MLB- Just not on the Phillies.