Last winter, multiple clubs in the KBO League paid attention to Venezuelan batter Willian Astudillo (32). Attention was focused on his future as he turned to the Asian League, and it was the Softbank Hawks, a prestigious Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB), who finally signed the contract. Softbank reportedly offered him a high salary of 180 million yen (1.6 billion won).
One of the secrets to Astudillo’s popularity was his “extreme” strikeout ratio. Playing 12 years in the minor leagues, he played 2,972 at-bats in his 먹튀검증 career and struck out 103. It is 3.5% compared to the total at-. The number of walks was 108, five more than that. In the 2019 Triple-A under the Minnesota Twins, he boasted a high batting average of 0.423, with only two strikeouts (two walks) in 18 games (83 at-bats). His career batting average in the minor leagues is 0.309, but he struck out less, forcing several clubs to drool. This is why major Asian league clubs sent love calls to him, who does not have much experience in the big leagues (188 games in total).
Local media in the U.S. also evaluated Astudillo, who boasts a solid physique (1m75cm in height, 102kg in weight), as “He looks like a batolo colon, but he hits like a tie-cop.” Colon is a great pitcher with 247 big league wins, but his profile weighs 130kg. On the other hand, Cobb is a legendary hitter who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame and is a “hitting machine” with a career batting average of 0.366.
Astudillo, who has a major career in the minor leagues, said at the Softbank joining ceremony, “I know NPB is a high-level and challenging league. “I’m ready to play there,” he said with confidence. For Softbank, who is thirsty for winning the Japan Series after 2020, it was important what Astudillo, who invested a large amount of money from the first season, showed.
In conclusion, it is more like a failed investment. Astudillo’s season record is .133 (4 hits in 30 at bats) in 13 games. Due to the sluggishness, he has been in the second division for a long time, so his performance in the first division is insignificant. There is only one strikeout that drew attention, but not only batting average but also on-base percentage (0.235) and slugging percentage (0.167) are below expectations.
“Astudillo is a player with a high probability of (success),” said a foreign scout of club A. “If the results that batters expect at the beginning of the season do not come out, they become impatient.” Even players with good pioneering eyes end up like that. When the ball count is concentrated, Japanese pitchers are so good at controlling breaking balls, including forkballs, that it is difficult to cope with. “In order to hit a long ball, we need to set the timing of the hit a little faster, which is a vicious cycle for foreign hitters,” he explained.
If you are an official who knows Astudillo’s contact ability, your batting average in the 10% range feels unfamiliar. Team B scout said, “Astudillo is not a damn type. “The level of Japanese baseball is too high,” he said. “If you look at foreign hitters playing in NPB, except for players who have already adapted and play (newly recruited) “There are few players who play well,” he said. This means that Japanese pitchers’ skills are that good for newly recruited hitters to perform right away.
Raul Alcantara (Doosan Bears) is the strongest pitcher in the KBO League this season. He had a 1.97 ERA in his first 16 appearances. 9.03 strikeouts per nine innings. Most detailed indicators are at the top of the league. Alcantara achieved 20 wins (2 losses) in 2020 when he played for Doosan, becoming the most wins and the most wins in professional baseball. He challenged NPB using his high-quality performance as leverage, but chose “return to Korea” without much performance for two seasons. And it rebounded again. An official from the C club’s management team said, “Alcantara’s performance this year alone seems to show a clear difference in the level of the KBO League and NPB.” That’s the status quo,” he said.