Everything is interesting here in Reds country, this fine August weekend. Though interesting does not always entail positivity, it just so happens there are a couple of good things perpetuating the minds of Reds country. Here follows are some worthy weekend musings about Aristides Aquino and Trevor Bauer.
If you are not in awe of what this dude has accomplished, you must not have watched Saturday’s game.
The Punisher has rapidly ingratiated himself to Reds country, almost faster than the Wild Horse. Sure, Yasiel Puig had the winter to stroll about town as a politician, glad-handing high rollers and kissing babies, finding a way in to Cincinnati’s heart. If we’re being objective about it, though, Puig was just ok on the field. Now, I’m not saying he wasn’t entertaining, but as far as winning productivity is concerned, he provided a 95 OPS+. That technically means he was below average.
Fast-forward 10 days from Puig’s departure to Cleveland and we see Aquino smashing his seventh home run in nine games. He is the first Reds rookie ever to homer in four-straight games, and he hit three dingers in that fourth game. Aquino smashed those three homers in his first three at-bats!
He had a chance to get four homers in a game, but Cubs pitcher Alec Mills threw four-straight pitches to the bat boy and gladly sent him down to first base. Aquino then struck out in his final at-bat of the night.
His dinger streak ended on Sunday, but he extended his hitting streak to eight games. He’s one away from tying fellow rookie Nick Senzel for the longest streak, this year, with nine. The future is bright, Reds fans.
Now, I’m not ready to crown him the 2020 opening day right fielder, yet, but the Punisher has amassed 0.8 WAR in 10 games. Puig compiled 0.8 WAR in 100 games. For those of you who do not know, WAR is a cumulative stat, not a rate stat that is heavily dependent on sample size.
What’s more, Aquino is tied with Pete Alonso (Mets) and Gary Sanchez (Yankees) for the third-hardest hit ball this year.
Aquino still has plenty of development left ahead of him. He’s got to learn that not every swing will result in a 118.3 MPH comet to the bleachers, but he’s shown his talent. It is evident that he has the potential to not only stick on with the big league club in 2020, but maybe be a key to a playoff run.
Raise your hand if you were worried about Bauer after his first start as a Red, in Atlanta? Now, keep your hand up if you still are. His 11 strikeout performance on Friday, against the Cubs, was phenomenal. Even in a few innings when he had Cubs on base to deal with, Bauer still buckled down and got the outs he needed. The most deadly pitch in his arsenal that allows him to do this is his curveball.
We have all been happy watching the resurgence of Sonny Gray and seeing him spin some nasty breakers up there, but where Gray’s curveball has a lot of horizontal movement, Bauer’s falls off a table. According to Statcast, Bauer’s curveball drops an extra 9.3 inches compared to the average 79 MPH curve. Nobody else’s curve has that great of an increased drop (17%).
So far, Bauer has allowed opposing batters a .219 average. That puts him at 16th in pitchers with at least 350 plate appearances against them. The Reds now have three top-20 starters with Gray (.216) at 12th and Luis Castillo (.188) at 2nd. Come what may with the rest of the rotation in 2020, those are your top three guys. The Astros (Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Wade Miley) are the only other team with three starters in the top-20 of batting average against.
Other Reds stuff
Jose Peraza, after a 1-for-4 performance Sunday, now has hit safely in six-straight games. That’s tied for his second-longest hitting streak of the year. He hit in eight-straight games, back in July, with the first one coming the day before the All Star Break and then the first seven games after the break. Peraza is currently hitting .243 and has hit .309 since the Break.
Sal Romano got his second save of the year, Saturday night, which also happens to be his second save of his career. Both have been because he tossed the final three innings of the game he was brought in to. I tried scouring the interwebs for some kind of list of dudes with three out saves…but no one has ever had that much time on their hands.
Heres hoping this coming week against the Nationals and Cardinals is just as fun as last week!