The Cincinnati Reds signed Aristides Aquino in January 18th, 2011 out of the Dominican Republic as a a 16-year-old. He wasn’t a high profile signing, though the Reds were impressed with his tools and signed him for $115,000.
He spent the first two seasons of his career, at ages 17 and 18, playing in the Dominican Summer League and the results weren’t good. He hit .188 and .197 in those first two seasons. Despite the struggles, the Reds showed faith in the tools and brought him stateside as a 19-year-old.
The faith paid off as Aquino responded well, hitting .278/.325/.479 for the Arizona League Reds, though he struggled with his plate discipline somewhat, walking just 10 times with 40 strikeouts. The next season he took another step forward, hitting .292/.342/.577 for the Billings Mustangs. His power jumped forward in a big way, but his plate discipline was still a bit of an issue, walking just 15 times and striking out 66 times.
After a slow start in Dayton during the 2015 season, the outfielder was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his arm down near his wrist. He missed over two months before beginning a two week rehab assignment. When he returned to the Dragons in the middle of July he never really got going and finished the season with a .234/.281/.364 line to go with 11 walks and 53 strikeouts.
Despite the struggles in Dayton, Cincinnati pushed him up to Daytona for the start of the 2016 season. The season got out to a rough start for Aquino – he went 11-70 (.157) with five walks and 19 strikeouts in the first 18 games.
In the 55 games since then he’s put together a heck of a run. From April 27th through yesterday he has hit .329/.382/.571 with 11 doubles, six triples and 10 home runs. The outfielder has walked 17 times with 48 strikeouts as he’s begun to show a better approach at the plate. The Florida Sate League currently has a league OPS of .671. That puts Aquino’s .834 mark a full 163 points higher than the average hitter in the league.
Since coming to the United States, the best strikeout-to-walk ratio he’s had at any level is 4-to-1 and it came in the Arizona League. As things sit right now he’s got a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3-to-1, which is a massive improvement. Combine that with a strong set of tools to work with across the board, and his production and the Reds may find themselves with a quick rising prospect by the end of the season that is pushing for Top 100 status if he continues with what he’s done over the last six weeks.