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.
BREAKING: Cincinnati Reds call up Aristides Aquino from Triple A.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) July 31, 2019
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.