Up early for Saturday morning baseball Baseball Betsy and I made a quick couple mile trip over to the Blue Jays complex to see Phillies minor league baseball. The sky was blue and the temperatures were in the 60’s. It was perfect baseball weather. It turned out to be three game being played at once with the Phillies high and low A work groups and the extended spring training team playing against their counterparts of the Blue Jays.
With starting pitcher Ranfi Casimiro on the mound for the mound for the high A team, he got a quick called strike three which woke us up and got things going for the morning of baseball action. Watch Here. It’s not easy trying to watch three games being played at once but it is sure is fun trying and the design of the Blue Jays fields allowed us to position ourselves to do it.
The irony was one player so stood out for the Phillies that he was compelling to watch over all the other players. Willians Astudillo stood out far and above all the other players. He started out as a designated hitter and finished at first base in the field but it was with the bat that he captured our attention.
In Astudillo’s first at bat he moved Rhys Hoskins to third base by going the other way with a ground ball to second on a ground out. Hoskins, who had doubled to start the inning, then scored on a ground out with the infield back. It’s the type of small ball the Phillies have been preaching all spring.
Later in the game Astudillo came up and hit a solo home run to left. It was a line drive no doubt about it drive over the fence in left-center. That’s my kind of baseball.
Not finished yet Astudillo came up late in the game with runners on first and second and drilled a double down the left field line to drive in two runs. Watch the double Here and also see the great slide by Chase Harris to score the second run. Harris, who was on base after lining a single, continues to have one of the best camps of any Phillies minor league player.
Willians Astudillo is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the Phillies minor league system. He is all but impossible to strikeout, can move runners into scoring position when needed and has the power to go deep and drive in some runs. This morning he put on quite a show in all those hitting situations.
It’s easy to see why Astudillo was in the battle for the South Atlantic League batting championship with Lakewood right down to the last week of last season. He had one of the best bats in the Phillies minor league system in 2014, hitting .333 and striking out only 20 times in over 460 plate appearances. Whether it be catching, serving as designated hitter or playing first base he is one of the most valuable players in the Phillies farm system. To me after watching the major league Phillies play this spring, I can see no reason why the 23-year old Astudillo should not play some day soon at the major league level.