Seems to be little love for Astudillo on these boards. We can't just look at him as a '3rd catcher'...he is a valuable replacement almost anywhere...unlike Castro, who is only a catcher and right now someone who can't hit a lick. With Garver probably getting the call every game in a 5 game series, who is more valuable as an 'extra'? Someone who can still catch, AND play other positions AND who rarely strikes out...or someone who is uni-dimensional and who has become an automatic out (with a ton of k's). While Castro defensively is decent, is he REALLY that superior to Astudillo behind the plate, as to make a huge difference?
Astudillo is more than a fun story....he is a valuable utility player and IMO much more useful in a short series than the slumping Castro. I also think he is more valuable than Cave, who has also reverted back to not hitting.
Just my opinions of course.
Astudillo is having a terrible year. 170 ABs and a 72 OPS+. Even with last year's hotness he's at a career 95 OPS+. Both of those are okay for a backup catcher but that's not a guy to write home about. The eye test confirms it. Pitchers have figured out he'll chase and so they're throwing him stuff off the plate so he'll make weak contact. He has yet to respond to the league's book on him.
Defensively, he looks erratic behind the plate. The throws behind runners are exciting but there's a lot of danger there too. Castro seems a bit better but not significantly so. I'd be fine letting Castro go this offseason and making Astudillo the backup but for now, Castro is a better player, especially since I expect Garver to start most if not all playoff games.
Astudillo does have some positional flexibility but he's not particularly good anywhere. Playoffs before the WS are not as much about playing bench players and the Twins don't have a lot of guys you'd pinch hit for in the lineup (maybe Schoop/Arraez based on handedness?) So that's not so useful, especially since Gonzalez can play just about anywhere.
Cave is a better option because he's actually an OF. The Twins will need four of those in case of injury. Arraez/Astudillo are not good options for a playoff game. In fact, you may see Wade instead of a 13th pitcher if they want 5 OF and a pinch runner for Sano/Cruz.
Astudillo has a future with the Twins as a bridge to Rortvedt/Jeffers but he has no business on a playoff roster. He can still be on the bench and be a teammate.