The Cincinnati Reds played a game that many of the Reds players, and every last one of the Reds fans would like to forget about. The Washington Nationals blew them out of the water on Wednesday evening, scoring 16 runs between the 5th and 6th innings and putting the game well out of reach for not just the Reds, but probably the Cincinnati Bengals, too, even if they had to play the Nationals in a football game from that point forward (hat tip Matt Allaire for this gem). But there was something great that happened in the game for the Reds. Aristides Aquino homered. Again.
The Punisher hit an opposite field home run that just cleared the wall in the 7th inning. The homer went 387 feet and was 102 MPH off of the bat. That home run was another record breaker to start the career for Aristides Aquino. In just his 14th career game the right-handed slugger belted his 9th career home run. That’s the fastest that a player has ever homered nine times to begin their career. He also holds the record for fastest to hit eight.
Our buddy Joel Luckhaupt returned from his twitter hiatus to share some information on just how incredible Aristides Aquino’s start has been.
I accidentally left out Austin Riley at 75 PA. Just cut and paste, kids. Don't transcribe. https://t.co/UtJUuo4z3K
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) August 15, 2019
It’s just been a storybook start to the career for Aristides Aquino. This season he’s now played in 13 games and racked up 45 plate appearances. He’s slugging 1.023 in that span. His average? A meager .386. He’s also added three walks, giving him a .426 on-base percentage this season. Small sample size alert on everything, but my goodness this joyous and fun ride continues.
While Aristides Aquino wasn’t completely off of everyone’s prospect radar coming into the year, he was off of some. My personal rankings at RedsMinorLeagues.com had him rated as the 17th overall prospect in the organization. Baseball America also had him rated in their Top 25. But the crew over at Fangraphs left him completely out of their Top 31 Reds prospects entering the season. They also did the same when they updated their list just a month ago. It seems that they felt that they messed up, because earlier today they decided to give things a little bit of an update and moved him from entirely off of their list up to the #7 prospect in the organization.
They are still not entirely sold that he’s a future every day player, grading him out as a 45 FV (Future Value) player. Your average every day caliber starter is going to be a 50 grade player. You can read more about what they have to say at the link above, but it’s the final two sentences that are the most important from their writeup.
We think there’s a chance Aquino performs the way Franmil Reyes has since his debut, big power and lower OBPs from a corner outfield spot. There’s a chance that’s a 50 FV type player but Aquino’s track record of fringe contact and plate discipline tempers our expectations about him sustaining that level of production.
And they aren’t exactly incorrect. Including this evenings game, Aristides Aquino’s strikeout rate in Cincinnati this season is 25.5%. His walk rate is 6.4%. This season in Triple-A? 25.1% strikeout rate to go with a 7.1% walk rate. The year before in Double-A? A 25.2% strikeout rate to go with a 7.2% walk rate. The big difference this year, both in Triple-A and the Majors, is that his power has basically been somewhere along the lines of Mark McGwire circa 1998 (Triple-A) and some character in a video game since arriving in the Majors.
It seems that when writing these updates on Aristides Aquino and the start he’s out to I keep coming back to the old line of enjoy it. And that’s what we should be doing. He’s doing things that have literally never been done in the long, great history of this game. Of course it’s not going to last. Eventually he’s not going to hit nine home runs every two weeks. But he did just that over the last two weeks, and while I don’t speak for the rest of you, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it. Hopefully you have too.