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Article: MIN 3, KC 1: Walk-Off Willians

willians astudillo chase de jong zack littell taylor rogers
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 03:06 PM

Willians Astudillo’s magical season continued Sunday, as he destroyed a hanging slider with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a walk-off homer. He also helped guide a few young pitchers behind the plate, including Chase De Jong, who was making his Twins debut.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
De Jong: 59 Game Score, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 56.2% strikes (41 of 73 pitches)
Home Runs: Astudillo
Multi-Hit Games: Astudillo (2-for-4, HR)
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Astudillo .324, De Jong .225, Littell .137, Rogers .126
WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.106
Download attachment: WinChart99.png
If you think about it, Astudillo isn't even really supposed to be here, which makes his success to this point all the more fun. The Twins catching duo was supposed to be Jason Castro and Mitch Garver, of course, but even after Castro went down Bobby Wilson came up.

Even down in Rochester, the Twins were constantly cycling through other catchers. They brought in Cameron Rupp, who has 287 MLB starts behind the plate to his credit, and after Rupp departed they added Juan Graterol, who (unlike Astudillo) had some MLB time prior to this season.

Astudillo's defensive flexibility has obviously made him an attractive piece, but it's still pretty remarkable the way things have turned out for him this season, and really over his career. The walk-off was Astudillo's 15th home run of the season (three with the Twins and 12 more with the Red Wings). He had 17 in 560 minor league games coming into this season.

De Jong, who was acquired in the Zach Duke trade, threw a lot of pitches considering how brief his start was, 73 total. I guess that’s what happens when you strike out five batters and walk four over four innings. He gave up only one hit, a single that was quickly erased by a 5-4-3 double play.

De Jong relied on his four-seam fastball, throwing it 57.5 percent of the time according to Baseball Savant. He averaged 89.7 mph with that pitch, topping out at 92.1. His main secondary offerings were his changeup and slider, which he threw 15 and 13 times, respectively. While there wasn’t much impressive about his stuff, De Jong did get nine swinging strikes on those 73 pitches he threw.

De Jong was originally drafted in the second round by the Blue Jays, was eventually dealt to the Dodgers, then again to the Mariners. He made his major league debut last season with Seattle, pitching to a 6.35 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over 28 1/3 innings.

Zack Littell piggybacked off De Jong’s start, taking over in the fifth inning. He was pumping in more impressive velo with his four seamer, topping out at 96 mph, but the Royals actually handled him a little better than De Jong.

Littell gave up two hits, one being a solo home run, over his 3 1/3 innings. He only got one strikeout, but didn’t walk anybody and threw 35 of his 49 pitches for strikes (71.4 percent). He induced only three swinging strikes.

After giving up seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in the first two appearances of his MLB career, Littell has toned that down to three earned over 7 1/3 innings in his two outings since.

It was an encouraging performance from the pair of young pitchers. Obviously both of these guys are being developed to go more than three or four innings, but with expanded rosters, piggybacking seems like an effective way to help get these guys more opportunities.

Taylor Rogers was next up, and he delivered his 20th consecutive scoreless outing. He struck out three of the four batters he faced, the other reached on a hit by pitch. Trevor Hildenberger retired the only two batters he faced to close out the ninth, putting him in the position to earn the win.

The Twins’ lineup just couldn’t string together much offense. Robbie Grossman led off the second inning with a double and was driven home on a single by Ehire Adrianza. They eventually left runners on first and second base that inning, did the same thing in the third inning, then didn’t get a runner into scoring position again until the ninth.

Max Kepler hit a two-out double in the ninth, giving Astudillo the opportunity be the hero. Willians, who was the behind the plate today, was 2-for-4 and is now hitting .297 with a .911 OPS.

Postgame With Astudillo

Next Three Games
Mon vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. TBD
Tue vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: TBD
Wed vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. TBD

Last Three Games
KC 4, MIN 1: Good, Great, GRAND, WONDERFUL!
MIN 10, KC 6: It’s a Lot Easier to Beat Bad Teams
HOU 9, MIN 1: The Astros Are Really Good At Baseball

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#2 sloopjont

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 03:17 PM

I'm showing my age here but the Twin's starting pitcher's name reminded me of that scene in the W.C. Fields' movie, "It's a gift":
Insurance Salesman: Do you know a man by the name of LaFong? Carl LaFong? Capital L, small a, Capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong. Carl LaFong.

(Chase DeJong) Capital D, small e, Capital J, small o, small n, small g. DeJong. Chase DeJong.
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#3 yarnivek1972

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 03:25 PM

Astudillo really doesn’t need to be able to do much offensively to be a valuable player in today’s era of 3-4 man benches. He’s competent at several positions, though likely average or below average at at least some of them. He can contribute offensively when he does play.

IMO, rostering him is a no brainer.
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#4 notoriousgod71

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 03:46 PM

 

Astudillo really doesn’t need to be able to do much offensively to be a valuable player in today’s era of 3-4 man benches. He’s competent at several positions, though likely average or below average at at least some of them. He can contribute offensively when he does play.

IMO, rostering him is a no brainer.

 

He is a guy that is easy to root for and I wish we hadn't suffered through five months of Bobby Wilson for it.

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#5 Twodogs

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 04:25 PM

Astudillo really doesn’t need to be able to do much offensively to be a valuable player in today’s era of 3-4 man benches. He’s competent at several positions, though likely average or below average at at least some of them. He can contribute offensively when he does play.

IMO, rostering him is a no brainer.


Yes, it would allow for the Twins to pinch run for their catchers late in games.

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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 04:35 PM

I can't make a definitive statement related to willians, but I can thank him for breathing some life into a moribund finish for the twins this season. He has so much energy and enthusiasm and if there's one thing this team has lacked its energy and enthusiasm. Our primary Vet as quiet and understated and we don't have anybody else to give that energy the way that Kirby Puckett did. That quality is really underestimated. I'm reading Yogi Berra's Memoir on his 10 Championship seasons and he talks in there in about some of the Players whose enthusiasm spark the Yankees. Billy Martin was one of them and of course we know about him here in Minnesota but his energy drove the team. And in addition to him there are others often players who were role players who stepped up like that to keep the team focused.
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#7 h2oface

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 04:40 PM

Gimenez batting .139 and playing first base. I thought we would see prospects if what is left of the starters are given that "desperately needed" day off....

 

Instead, we play a catcher that is a fill in at first base, that is hitting worse than Buxton!

 

This is really a joke of a team now.

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#8 jokin

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 05:13 PM

 

I can't make a definitive statement related to willians, but I can thank him for breathing some life into a moribund finish for the twins this season. He has so much energy and enthusiasm and if there's one thing this team has lacked its energy and enthusiasm. Our primary Vet as quiet and understated and we don't have anybody else to give that energy the way that Kirby Puckett did.

 

That quality is really underestimated

 

For sho'....

 

Re-watch the celebration at home plate. The primary teammate personally engaging and practically tackling Astudillo is... Logan Forsythe, of all people! This, despite the fact that as the on-deck batter, and "primary vet", Joe Mauer started out closer to Astudillo when he crossed home plate than everyone except for Kepler.

 

Joe Mauer stayed a comfortable 6-8 feet away from the center of the celebratory pile-on... hopping up and down, but not exactly engaging and leading "the boys", as he calls them, in their celebration. Not necessarily a criticism, it's just not who he is, as a "primary vet." The team sorely lacks a Kirby or a Torii.

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Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#9 Einheri

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 05:30 PM

I suspect a dog pile for Mauer is a needless chance at further concussion problems.

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#10 notoriousgod71

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 07:33 PM

 

For sho'....

 

Re-watch the celebration at home plate. The primary teammate personally engaging and practically tackling Astudillo is... Logan Forsythe, of all people! This, despite the fact that as the on-deck batter, and "primary vet", Joe Mauer started out closer to Astudillo when he crossed home plate than everyone except for Kepler.

 

Joe Mauer stayed a comfortable 6-8 feet away from the center of the celebratory pile-on... hopping up and down, but not exactly engaging and leading "the boys", as he calls them, in their celebration. Not necessarily a criticism, it's just not who he is, as a "primary vet." The team sorely lacks a Kirby or a Torii.

 

It's probably why the 2001-2003 Twins are my favorite squad ever. A.J., Doug, Guardado, and Hawkins were not the most talented group by I don't think anyone wanted it more than them. Add in a talented Torii, who also had an outgoing personality, and it was truly fun watching those teams.

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#11 jorgenswest

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 07:55 PM

He is a guy that is easy to root for and I wish we hadn't suffered through five months of Bobby Wilson for it.


I am not sure that Berrios or even Gibson would call if suffering.
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#12 jokin

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 08:05 PM

 

I suspect a dog pile for Mauer is a needless chance at further concussion problems.

 

I think it has nothing to do with any concussions concerns, Mauer has oft-admitted that what you see from him is who he is. He's just not an Type A personality/vocal leader.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#13 Carole Keller

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 08:38 PM

I think it has nothing to do with any concussions concerns, Mauer has oft-admitted that what you see from him is who he is. He's just not an Type A personality/vocal leader.


Moderator note: To everyone, this is not a Mauer thread. Move it elsewhere as there are plenty other threads out there to discuss Mauer. Or start your own.

This is the game wrap up. It was a good game with some much needed good pitching, a pitcher making his MLB debut, ending with a walk-off homerun. If all you can talk about from that is how Mauer wasn’t in the middle of the scrum, post it elsewhere.
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#14 Einheri

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 09:31 PM

I've liked Astudillo since seeing him do that "blind" pickoff throw to 1B in Spring Training.  I'm glad that he's getting a chance to play.  I would hope that there's some room for him in 2019.

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#15 Channing1964

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 01:59 AM

Astudillo is the first cool thing I've seen from my team in way Way too long. I dont care how long it took him....Im happy he's here...Falvine, please don't ruin this for us.
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#16 slash129

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 10:21 AM

 

Astudillo is the first cool thing I've seen from my team in way Way too long. I dont care how long it took him....Im happy he's here...Falvine, please don't ruin this for us.

 

Eddie Rosario is now facepalming and wondering what he needs to do to be cool.

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#17 notoriousgod71

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 03:25 PM

 

Astudillo is the first cool thing I've seen from my team in way Way too long. I dont care how long it took him....Im happy he's here...Falvine, please don't ruin this for us.

 

He reminds me of Deduno. He's not really that great, but he's interesting and the exact opposite of every other player on this roster so we want to keep him just because he is different.

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#18 Channing1964

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 08:51 PM

For 2019.... he's a lock. But the Falvine's will prolly keep Gimenez, sign Wilson, and bring in Mike Napoli for a farewell tour because the Indians or Rangers won't do it.

#19 Channing1964

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 08:52 PM

He reminds me of Deduno. He's not really that great, but he's interesting and the exact opposite of every other player on this roster so we want to keep him just because he is different.

Deduno? wow, wasn't he like a pitcher?
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#20 Channing1964

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 09:34 PM

Eddie Rosario is now facepalming and wondering what he needs to do to be cool.

No, i doubt it. He's prolly on the phone with his agent to find out when he can enter unrestricted free agency.

Edited by Channing1964, 10 September 2018 - 09:36 PM.




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