It was speculated on last night when Aristides Aquino was a very late scratch from the Triple-A lineup that he was getting the call. Then later that evening Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic tweeted out that Aquino was indeed getting called up by Cincinnati. He will fill out the Reds 25-man roster after their trade deadline moves left them with an open spot.

You can see the numbers in his tweet – Aristides Aquino’s raking. The baseball in Triple-A is flying, and home runs are happening at unprecedented paces. But there’s what the league is doing, then there’s what Aquino is doing. He missed nearly a month earlier this year with a shoulder injury. He’s currently second in the International League with 28 home runs. The baseball is certainly helping – it’s helping everyone. But he’s doing more damage with it than most.

 

The 2019 season has been one of new hitting mechanics for Aristides Aquino, who has opened up his stance. It’s helped him quite a bit. His walk rate isn’t as high as you would like it to be, but his pitch recognition has improved some. You can still get him out on a good breaking ball just out of the zone, but he has tightened up what he’ll swing at. The strikeout rate is higher than you would like it – he’s striking out 25.1% of the time he’s stepping to the plate in Triple-A. With his power, you can easily live with that strikeout rate. But if it stays there in the Majors, the power’s going to need to come with it.

In the field, Aristides Aquino is a clear right fielder. At least normally. In a world where Jesse Winker is a center fielder a lot of things can be tossed aside. But Aquino, while probably a tad faster than Winker, doesn’t have the speed to play center. What he does have is a big time arm that plays very well in right field. He’s got seven assists as a right fielder this year, and one more as a center fielder (5 games). With the arm being well known, he doesn’t get tested quite as much as he used to – like in 2016 when he racked up 28 assists. With the glove, he’s solid – but he doesn’t stand out for his abilities as a right fielder in terms of glove or range.

It will be interesting to see how he fits into the lineup. Will he be a true back up outfielder? Will the outfield see time, mostly, from Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, Derek Dietrich, and Josh VanMeter before Aristides Aquino gets in there? Or will the nice mix of lefties and righties in that group lead to more opportunities for Aquino to get some at-bats? David Bell certainly can mix things up with this group.

Josh VanMeter to play every day

I wrote about this on RedsMinorLeagues.com earlier, so you can get the full story there. But last night Reds General Manager Nick Krall noted that the plan was to get Josh VanMeter into the lineup every day moving forward. As the resident Josh VanMeter shill, this makes all of the sense in the world to me. After posting a 1.097 OPS in Triple-A this season, he’s now hitting .312/.418/.532 for the Reds. And he’s doing so while showing a nice array of skillsets at the plate. Oh, and he can play four or five different positions, too.

52 Responses

  1. VaRedsFan

    Good to hear JVM will be in there every day.
    Hope Aquino will get plenty of PT, and not 1 start a week and a few pinch hitting assignments

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Same here on JVM. I could easily see him or Senzel going to 2nd, also, maybe this year, maybe next.

      • VaRedsFAn

        I don’t see Senzel ever going back to 2B. I think he has handled his 1st year there admirably, and should only get better.
        Back in Spring when Scooter went down, they chose NOT to play Nick at 2B while still in the minors, and after his call up. To me that tells me that the Reds want him to stay in CF now, and in the near-future.

      • ToBeDetermined

        VARFan
        completely agree.
        Senzel in the CF for the Reds for the foreseeable future.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m hoping that JVM plays mostly at 2B and Aquiño is at worst part of a double platoon in the corner OF with the 2 LH being Winker/ Dietrich and 2 RH Ervin/ Aquiño. But I think at some point at least one of the RH guys needs to get a run of a week or more facing RH pitching.

      If I ran the Fangraphs split tool correctly, Ervin had an OPS of .786 and wRC+ of 108 vs RH pitching last year in 124 PA over the final 2 months of the season when he was playing every day. That might well merit another look this year.

      • Doc

        At worst, yes. At best, DD takes his .210 to the bench and Aquino, Winker and Ervin get most of the starts.

  2. Jim Walker

    Glad to hear JVM gets the everyday nod. Tougher question is shouldn’t be moved up in the line up? Perhaps put him at #2 (at least vs RH pitching) and drop Votto to 4 or alternately put JVM at #2 and slide Votto and Suárez down a slot each?

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    All of this is going to be so interesting to me all the way to opening day next season. I mean, an OF of Senzel, Winker, VanMeter, Ervin, and not Aquino? I would put that up against anyone. Honestly, I could even see us taking Senzel or VanMeter to 2nd (that’s the position VanMeter played mostly in the minors).

    I don’t see anything going on with Votto. I don’t believe the Reds would want to give up Suarez. That leaves SS and C.

    At SS, I would hate to lose Jose, because he’s been one of the league leaders with BA-RISP, something this team has lacked in recent years. And, we are giving him away?

    At C, I could still see us going with Barnhardy and Casali, even though I would give Casali more playing time, to get some offense production from there.

    I looked on the FA list at SS, 2nd, and C. I saw a lot of names, but not much with current stats. Maybe Yasmani. But, the Brewers paid through the nose for him this season. I don’t know what he would be asking.

    With this, I could understand a little more why we were going after Realmuto now. It would have been expensive this season, but only this season. For, with the moves the Reds have done this season, I read somewhere they have only about $50 million committed to next year so far. And, I read somewhere where they are still committed to having the same payroll for next season.

    But, I don’t see many trade pieces we can bargain with. And, I don’t see many FA’s we would be interested in, at least in the positions of need I would see in 2nd, SS, and C. How do we find offense there if there’s none out there?

    That’s why I really like these trades even more. For, one can spin them as:

    – We gave up a pitcher (Roark) for an OF (Hannah)
    – We gave up an OF (Puig) for a pitcher (Bauer).
    (not including the filler material like Trammell)

    That’s what I see, resulting pretty much in a position for position trade.

    It’s going to be interesting.

    Past this, what I would like to see, in no order of importance:

    – Shore up the pitching staff – make sure we have as good as we have this season.
    – Develop the minors – get some instructors down there, video, etc. For this team in our market, we are going to need them.

    • Don

      Steve,
      This is what I can find for 2020 reds salary commitments.

      Committed salaries for 2020 (in mil $)
      Barnhart = 3.9
      Votto = 25
      Suarez = 9.5
      Gray = 9.1
      R Iglesias = 9

      Arbitration
      Peraza
      Bauer
      DD
      Disco
      Lorenzen
      Peralta
      Stepheson

      Free Agent
      J Iglesias
      Wood
      Hernandez

      Team Option
      Hughes @ 3 mil

      The other players are in team control years for other than Casili they are all < 600K each.
      Casali
      Farmer
      JVM
      Senzel
      Winker
      Ervin
      Aquino
      Mahle
      Castillo
      Sims
      Garrett

      So the team could turn a lot of spots again based on next 8 weeks of play if they wanted.

      • Gonzo Reds

        I certainly think we should offer J Iglesias a 2 year deal including the second year option and a longer deal to Wood if he shows he can stay healthy and produce over the next month.

        I know everyone is looking for RP but I think Hernandez and Hughes are both cut loose in favor of all the young arms we have that aren’t going to be starting with our premium rotation.

        Glad the team is mostly still intact (and competitive) minus the three players we had replacements lined up already since I’ll be flying up to Cincy for the Aug 17th/18th throwback uni games against the hated Cards. And my fav all time player Bench’s bobblehead night to boot!

  4. Don

    Looking forward to seeing Aquino play at MLB.

    Very happy to see the plan is to plan JVM every day.

    Hopefully DD stays as the veteran late inning pinch hitter whom sometimes has to play the field as they are out of other players or giving Votto a late inning rest at 1st base in a blowout win.

    Seems like almost a new season starting with the position player changes for the last 2 months of 2019.

    It should be an exciting time to be a Reds fan.

    • Pete

      It is, it’s basically a new ball club.

      A comment on Aristides but in a general way applying to all young ball players making their foray into MLB. I won’t bore you with anymore of my praising of his unreal power and potential:

      I’m praying for this guy, like many players entering into this wonderful journey, he is a 25 year old kid (to me, I’m 58) who has spent nearly 10 minor league seasons perfecting his craft to get to this point. Can’t imagine the pressure these guys must experience, chances are if they fail it’s back to AAA, where the future is as a MiLB lifer. A one shot deal to show what they have. We find out starting tonight, the fate for Aristides Aquino. This could be a seminal moment in Cincinnati Reds history or a blip on the radar screen but for him, and those in similar situations, it’s everything he worked for his entire life. Thank you to those fellows who have hung in there to give the fans an opportunity to view and enjoy their talents.

      Play ball!

      • Jim Walker

        Especially so for Aquiño. He was with the Reds last year just long enough to play in 1 game and get 1 PA only to then be ousted off the 40 man roster over the winter. He was a free agent and signed back on with the Reds as a minor league player. So essentially nobody in MLB offered him anything better. Now he has gone from looking like the ship may have passed him by to a legit opportunity back in the center ring.

        For both the player and the Reds, let’s hope he comes up aces.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Don

      “Seems like almost a new season starting with the position player changes for the last 2 months of 2019”

      You make a great point. It seems similar to after the trade with he Dodgers near Christmas time and then getting Roark and Gray. I was itching for the season to get going to see how the team would stack up.
      I think I’m going to have to get the Calamine lotion out again, as that feeling is coming over me.

  5. CFD3000

    Great news about JVM, but he needs to be at 2B almost every day, with perhaps an occasional game at third to give Suarez a rest. There’s no reason to play him in the outfield and take at bats away from Senzel, Winker, Ervin and Aquino. Those four can cover the three outfield slots just fine, and they all need at bats. For me these lock down everything but C and SS. The catching situation will evolve based on health, but I will say if Barnhart’s new batting approach gets him back to his baseball card numbers that would be a nice little upgrade. At short I’d prefer Jose Iglesias until a more productive option arrives by trader development or free agency, but I fear Peraza will still play plenty. If that’s the worst problem for the offense that’s it so bad. Starting pitching looks very strong with Bauer and Wood joining Gray, Castillo and DeSclafani, and Mahle and Reed available after they get healthy again. So it’s down to the bullpen. If they can perform I absolutely see a playoff run in 2019. If not, that should be the primary focus for 2020 and I like the makeup,of the rest of the team.

    On an unrelated note I’m excited that these new guys are arriving in Atlanta for four games. Perfect timing for a second look at the (new) Reds. Bring on the Braves. Go Reds!

    • CFD3000

      Man spell check is tough:
      *by trade or development or free agency
      *that’s not so bad
      Sorry for the unnecessary typo distractions!

  6. Tom

    I think we know the 2020 Reds got better. There’s a very real chance the 2019 Reds got better.

    Our biggest issues right now are:

    – Bullpen is a bit shaken but we added starting pitching

    – Too many decent outfielders

    – Extra starting pitchers who might need to pitch out of the bullpen

    – Should we sign a veteran SS with a slick glove, great attitude, and a knack for timely hits?

    – Should Votto choke up or choke down on the bat.

    This team can pick up 3 1/2 wins a month going forward. The FO did its job.

  7. Pete

    Aristides Aquino batting 6th, playing RF for the Cincinnati Reds tonight.

    • Jim Walker

      But in the only with the Reds department, the day after GM Nick Krall said JVM would play “everyday”, he is apparently platooned to the bench.

      • Pete

        Jim, I don’t understand it so I’m trying to ignore it. Hoping the totality of the talent will overcome these moves. JVM is playing at an All-Star level. Peraza is a nice kid who really only fits at SS or strictly as a utility guy. It’s why I wanted Scooter traded, because they can’t help themselves. Now it’s Jose Iglesias. Like I said before, it’s time to get serious – baby steps I guess.

  8. Nate

    All I can say is BOO!

    Not really, I wish him the best. I was hoping to see him play in Columbus tonight one last time. I would like to see Winker get a little more playing time against lefties but everyone needs some playing time to show what they can do.

  9. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds added JVM to the 40-man roster and promoted him to the big club on May 5th, after optioning Schebler and releasing Kemp. Before being promoted, JVM was starting every day and slashing .336/.431/.736 with a 1.167 OPS at AAA. After being promoted, JVM played almost exclusively as a pitch hitter, receiving just 7 starts and 49 PA in 28 games played from 5/5/19 through 06/19/19, when he was optioned back to AAA after slashing a pedestrian .220/.347/.268 with a .615 OPS. After returning to AAA and starting every day, JVM slashed .393/.443/.589 with a 1.032 OPS in 14 games and 61 PA. The Red promoted JVM again on 7/18/19 but this time began starting him regularly with 8 starts and 38 PA in 13 games. JVM slashed .438/.526/.875 with a 1.401 OPS in those 13 games. Funny how when a player used to getting regular starts and regular PA has his performance flushed down the toilet when forced to utility role. Funny how the same play repeats his excellent performance from AAA when he receives regular starts at the MLB level.

    If you want to evaluate a player properly at the MLB level, use the player in the role he excelled at the AAA level. If you want to just demonstrate that the player is not ready or is incapable of succeeding at the MLB level, use the player in an unfamiliar role as a utility player receiving just sporadic opportunities. It’s not rocket science. If you are going to use helicopters in a desert environment for a 1-time rescue mission, you test the helicopters in a desert environment before committing to such a mission, otherwise you are setting the mission up for almost certain failure. how the
    up

  10. IndyRedsFan

    Peraza starting at second tonight. So much for JVM starting every day.
    Looks like they’ll be platooning in left, right and at second. I hope I’m wrong on that…..I really don’t want to see Dietrick getting more at bats than Ervin and Aquino combined.

  11. Shchi Cossack

    If the Reds treat Aristides Aquino like they treated JVM when they promoted him the first time, the only outcome will be demonstrating that Aquino is not a utility player at the MLB level. Aquino has never been a utility player at any level. If the Reds want to complete a real evaluation of Aquino’s capabilities at the MLB level, he starts every game in RF for the remaining 2 months of the season. Give the 24-year-old Aristides Aquino a real opportunity to prove his capability to play at the MLB level.

    • Pete

      Makes sense. They didn’t trade enough guys away.

  12. Chris Holbert

    The Reds need to decide who the utility guy is going to be, it really should be Farmer. JVMR needs to be at 2B everyday, and Farmer(1) and Peraza(2) should be the “days off” guys, depending on the position need. Farmer should be the first choice in the infield , once the Cs are healthy, except possibly for SS. I am not exactly sure how even DD fits into the current and future plans, and he does not seem to be able to hit anything right now, although he does hit LH.

    • Chris Holbert

      The more I think about it Farmer’s catching ability may allow even more flexibility, with the bench and extra RPs.

  13. Matt WI

    That open stance to start the AB is wild! I wonder if it’s disconcerting to pitchers at first too?

  14. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds signed Jose Iglesias and Derek Dietrich as utility players to supplement the bench. When Gennett went to IL with a lengthy recovery period, Dietrich stepped up and filled the void created by Gennett’s absence admirably, to the tune of a .269/.373/.700 slash line with a 1.073 OPS over 56 games. That was simply Scooteresque. At the same time, Iglesias stepped up his game as the starting SS, slashing .308/.340/.443 with a .783 OPS over 53 games and flashing leather at SS like a real MLB starting SS. Kudos to both Deitrich and Iglesias. Without their contributions, the Reds season would have been buried long ago.

    Any chance the Reds have of making a playoff run is now miniscule. Dietrich (.143/.317/.276/.593) and Iglesias (.238/.275/.325/.600) have cooled of considerable from their outstanding starts. Iglesias still flashes the leather at SS and Dietrich takes a lot of HBP to maintain a reasonable OBP despite his AVG riding in the interstate.

    Iglesias and Dietrich do not need playing time at the expense and should NOT receive playing time at the expense of player evaluation.

    If the Reds want Peraza playing, he should be starting at SS over Iglesias.
    Josh VanMeter should be starting every game at 2B.
    Aristides Aquino should be starting every game in RF.
    Nick Senzel should be starting every game in CF.
    Winker and Ervin should be platooning in LF.

    If the Reds want provide more opportunities for Winker to face LHP and Ervin to face RHP, the LF platoon should be adjusted or and occasional rest day provided for another OF.

    • Roger Garrett

      Exactly and as you said its not rocket science,I hoped we had said good bye to the silly stuff but seems like we have one or two left.Not quite there yet but its getting better.

      • Pete

        I hope we don’t have to get to the point of mathematical elimination before this nonsense stops – actually if they would stop now, maybe no mathematical elimination has to occur……

      • Shchi Cossack

        Wouldn’t that be a hoot! The Reds win the NLCD, lead by the youth movement across the board, after everyone had written off the team with the focus on a win-now lineup.

  15. Shchi Cossack

    Bell is going to revert to his safety blanket of handedness matchups.

    Against LHP starter Max Fried:
    1. Nick Senzel (R) CF
    2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    3. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    4. Phillip Ervin (R) LF
    5. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
    6. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
    7. Jose Peraza (R) 2B
    8. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
    9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P

    • Pete

      SC, I can tell you’re fit to be tied – look at this and you’ll smile. The rotation:

      Tonight: RHP Anthony DeSclafani
      Friday: LHP Alex Wood
      Saturday: RHP Trevor Bauer
      Sunday: RHP Sonny Gray
      Monday: RHP Luis Castillo

      Didn’t get all I wanted the last couple of days but I did get a lot. I’m going to savor for a little bit.

      • CFD3000

        Man I lucked out. I get to see the Reds two weekends a year – once in Cincy for the annual pilgrimage, and once whenever the Reds come to Atlanta. Now I get to see the new look Reds with Wood and Bauer on the hill, and JVM, Ervin and Aquino plus Senzel at the plate. Except… Peraza? That’s a no. Hopefully it’s just a lefty thing but still… Oh well, this is still going to be fun!

      • Pete

        Lucky guy. Hope you get to see AA launch a moonshot.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Shchi
      I’m assuming if you were making out the lineup it would look differently? Personally, I don’t have a problem with it this evening.
      They are playing Senzel, Votto, Suarez, Ervin, Iglesias, Aquino, Peraza and Barnhart.
      If the issue is JVM well doesn’t Peraza need to play games also? isn’t he part of the youth movement also?
      What I’d would have been disappointed in is seeing DD in the lineup. He’s OK as a pinch hitter or late inning replacement.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Peraza is not of the youth movement playing 2B. I was hoping to see Peraza at SS tonight with JVM at 2B. As @Michael W. stated…baby steps…

      • Seadog

        Peraza is in the “youth” movement. Look at his age//. So, he has more time in the bigs-than most at this age. I like tonight’s lineup. A+ to “Freddie B.” He is the Coach tonight. Even though we know Bell made the calls

    • Michael W.

      Small bright side is that we have a bench tonight of Winker, JVM, DD, & Kyle Farmer. Finally a season where our best pinch hitter late in a ballgame is not Michael Lorenzen. I guess we can’t expect the FO & coaching staff to change everything overnight. Baby steps for sure, but progressing in the right direction.

      • ToBeDetermined

        M W

        “Finally a season where our best pinch hitter late in a ballgame is not Michael Lorenzen”
        Rolling on the floor laughing.
        But, so true

  16. M

    Reds lineup for tonight posted on reds.com. No JVM. AQUINO in rf. ???

  17. Pete

    Suspensions for the Pittsburgh fracas. outside of the skipper only two current Reds:

    Kela – 10 games
    Garrett – 8 games
    Osuna – 5 games
    Hughes – 3 games
    Crick – 3 games
    Puig – 3 games
    Bell – 6 games
    Hurdle – 2 games

    • Shchi Cossack

      No umpire suspensions … sad.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Shchi
        Good Point !
        I heard Marty B. on the Radio discussing the problem with MLB Front Office and the fact that they do nothing in regards to this problem of pitchers throwing at guys, but are happy to collect their big checks.

        It was good to hear “angry Marty” directing his opinion not towards the Reds
        Personally I thought he was spot on.

  18. SteveLV

    This year, echoing many: Play JVM, AA, a Winker, and Peraza at short at least 75% of the time.

    Next year: Make shortstop a stength, and add one other all-star caliber player with either the money or assets we have available.

    Trading Trammell for Bauer isn’t what I would have done, but now that they have, going for it next year is the only thing that makes sense. They have the starting staff to do that, they now need 4 potential all-stars among the 8 position players. Suarez and Senzel are 2, but probably need 2 more.

  19. wutinthehail

    I hope I am wrong, I hope I am VERY wrong but I’m not buying Aquino. In AAA he walked very little struck out a lot. He is not going to get many good pitches to hit (except a few mistake pitches) and he doesn’t have the ability to know the strike zone so he is going to be swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone. He better make good on a high percentage of the mistakes the opposing pitcher makes or he is not going to be very successful – I don’t care how far he can hit a ball.

    • Pete

      You’re right, I was wrong. I’d send him back to Louisville and bring up Crook. You do sound like you hope your are wrong.

      People hating on the Reds now – members of their own fan base. AWB: Anyone by Cincinnati.

      It turns my stomach so I’m out for a bit.

      • Nate

        Watched Crook last night, he’s not ready for a MLB caliber breaking ball. Did have 2 really nice plays in LF battling the sun.