Last night saw Joey Votto join the Louisville Bats to begin his rehab assignment as he works his way back from a broken thumb. Votto went 0-3 with two strikeouts in his first game back. This afternoon Aristides Aquino will join him in Triple-A to begin his own rehab assignment. The Punisher is recovering from having his hamate bone removed.

Louisville has a double header scheduled for this afternoon, starting at 5:30pm. The Bats are currently playing the St. Paul Saints. That’s important because in Triple-A teams only use the designated hitter when one or both teams are an American League affiliate. That opens up an easier path to get more at-bats spread around, and in Joey Votto’s particular case, a few extra at-bats as last week he noted that catching the ball was still where he was feeling the pain a little bit from his broken thumb, while hitting wasn’t much of an issue. In a completely related note: Please, for the love of Willie Mays, give the National League the designated hitter.

For Aristides Aquino, he’s currently on the 60-day injured list. He won’t be eligible to be activated in Cincinnati until June 13th. That means he’s going to spend at least the next ten days with the Bats. Aquino played in 10 games for the Reds before the injury occurred. He was hitting .231/.286/.769 with all three of his hits going for extra-bases thanks to a double and two home runs. He also had one walk and five strikeouts in his 14 plate appearances – mostly coming as a pinch hitter.

Cincinnati could certainly use both guys back on the roster as the offense has generally been in a rather big funk over the last month with few outbursts mixed in. Without Votto, Aquino, Moustakas, and Senzel the Reds simply have been running on fumes when it comes to their offensive output.

James Proctor, Nick Lodolo win awards

While we’re here talking about the minor leagues let’s point out that Nick Lodolo and James Proctor were both awarded their league’s Pitcher of the Month award for how they performed in May.

Over at this morning I wrote in depth about James Proctor who posted a 0.45 ERA in Daytona in May with 30 strikeouts in 20.0 innings. Undrafted out of Princeton last year, he’s gone through some changes since he graduated and he fits in well with the whole Spincinnati idea the team is working with and so far the results have been nothing short of outstanding.

Nick Lodolo took home the award for Chattanooga in the Double-A South. He posted a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings with 38 strikeouts and just six walks.

53 Responses

  1. Ryan

    Yes, the .231 Aquino and .227 Votto will erase the fumes of the offense. Well the other night the five bench players had a collective .180 average…

    • Doug Gray

      So not only did these two hit for a better average, but one provides a bunch of thump and the other has some ability to get on base and a little power?

      • James Jenkins

        Exactly Doug. Can’t wait to get both of them back.

      • Max BRAGG

        The improvements would be Stephenso is better when he spot starts,and Aquino is better than Payton place. Until they address BULLPEN Nothing matters (LOSING RECORD).

    • ohiojimwalker

      Punisher’s OPS slash for 2021 is .286/.769/1.055; wRC+ 160. And yeah that’s a small sample size but the same one which yielded the .231 BA.

      Votto’s same stats: .305/.425/.730; 99 Not typical Vottoesque of course but league average at worse.

      • RojoB

        Yes, give me Aquino and Votto over Heinneman, Freeman, Schrock, Farmer and Blandino any time!

      • JB

        Yes, Schrock and Farmer can become good bench pieces with a little pop off the bench.

  2. Klugo

    Too bad Aquino plays OF. Cant get Shogo any time, dont know how theyll get Aquino any. Handy in case, I guess.

    • RojoB

      It’s like playing chess with all knights and rooks.

      • RojoB

        Baseball with a roster of 6 outfielders and 5 third basemen lol

      • JB

        5 3rd basemen would be an awesome shift!

      • MBS

        I’d take that set up, Love me some Rooks, and Knights are dangerous too

  3. Jimbo44CN

    Cannot wait to get them both back.

    • RojoB

      Gives us at least something to look forward too!

  4. LDS

    The team will likely need Aquino when Castellanos bails at the end of the season (if not sooner via trade). Is Aquino another candidate to try at 1B?

    I see the Reds are starting Freeman at SS tonight. What is their objection to Rodriguez who is actually a SS, hitting better than Freeman, and younger?

      • LDS

        Sometimes it feels like the Reds management/FO are trying to lose. The small market argument doesn’t hold much water with me. The value of the franchise has increased dramatically. They ownership is just bleeding the organization dry.

    • ohiojimwalker

      Well it can’t be that they needed a double roster move (40/26) to get Rodriguez on because that’s exactly what they had to do for Freeman too.

      Maybe it is a belief in osmosis? You know, that guy named Freeman in Atlanta is pretty good so maybe…… But wait, wasn’t ARod pretty good too> Nevermind. 😉

      • LDS

        Perhaps it’s Bell’s affinity for lower tier players. Someone suggested here in the last couple of weeks that he relates better to utility/bench players than quality starters. Don’t know. But the current strategy isn’t working. And no one, free agent, trade, etc. wants to play for a franchise that isn’t serious or where players are interchangeable. I suspect that the real reason some of the FAs that the Reds allegedly offered more money (e.g., Ozuna) signed elsewhere.

      • 2020ball

        Clearly they don’t see much difference between Freeman and Arod, and if one were to require a DFA, they’d rather DFA Freeman.

        Sure Arod is hitting in a microscopic sample this season, but his other stats dont inspire much confidence. I’m also not sure how his D looks at SS anyway. Seems to me like they’re more willing to keep him in the future instead of using him for a week until guys are back from injury and having to expose him to waivers. Its just grasping for straws if this is what bums you out about the FO. Small fish.

      • 2020ball

        I mispoke, he wouldnt be exposed to waivers, but putting him on the 40 would burn an option year. Why do that when you have similar pieces that don’t have as much future value.

      • 2020ball

        or, I dunno, I guess he could see a DFA once a guy like Lorenzen comes off the IL-60. Aquino is going to require a 40 man move. I’m sure you’ve got a guy on the 26 man you’d be happy with DFAing, but I personally dont see the point just to shoot for the moon with a young unproven guy because he had 1 good month in AAA.

      • ohiojimwalker

        @2020, AlfRod could be optioned off the 26 man active roster w/o waivers but have to be exposed to get him back off the 40 if they were in that situation.

        This could be a consideration but seeing as how he has made it to his age 26 season without ever being on an MLB 40 man roster (as well as I can determine) , I wouldn’t think it would be a major one given he can’t be more than a year, 2 at the most, from qualifying for minor league free agency and is already Rule 5 draft eligible.

        Ironically the path for the Reds to control him longest from this point would be to put him on the 40 and burn off his option years.

      • 2020ball

        hmm, I’m not too privy on how the rules work for your last point but yeah thats a way of looking at it I hadnt thought of, interesting.

        “AlfRod could be optioned off the 26 man active roster w/o waivers but have to be exposed to get him back off the 40 if they were in that situation.”

        Yes, I tripped over my words before, but I do get this. Much more succinct, thank you. This highlights my point – The reason they’re skipping over Rodriguez right now is roster implications that I dont think everyone considers when a player isnt getting called up. Maybe Senzel could be moved to the IL-60 if they really needed the spot (his recovery is supposed to be less), but the only other obvious spot I see is Freeman’s, and I’m betting that eventually becomes Aquino. The Reds are trying to conserve what little depth they have while also getting Rodriguez more seasoning in AAA.

      • LDS

        Curious logic 2020, it’s almost like you’re suggesting they should always choose the lessor player to avoid DFA’ing someone better. As for slots on the 40, yeah I have no problem DFA’ing Blandino, Freeman, some others if I looked closely.

      • 2020ball

        Lesser is debatable which was my main point, but yes, I predicted your response.

      • MBS

        @2020Ball, yes this season is still a small sample size, but last spring his bat was good, this spring his bat was good, and this season his bat is good. All we have to go on is that, can’t help 2020 didn’t happen for the minors. He’ll reach his peak over the next 3 seasons, and he always carries a glove with him. Like it or not he’s our best option as an everyday SS.

      • Doug Gray

        Worth noting, though, that he was at the alternate site and the team chose to go with a 22-year-old who had never played above Advanced-A instead, who was clearly in over his head. So while we don’t know exactly what Rodriguez did at the alt-site, we know that the Reds thought that Garcia was clearly more ready and well, we saw how he performed last year…..

      • 2020ball

        Honestly if I were calling up anyone, I’d probably call up Berrero-Garcia. And everyone thinks Rodriguez is our best option but I don’t see how its that clear-cut personally. its a 1 month .800 OPS largely driven by his BA which is sure to go down in the bigs.

        Im not against him getting called up, I’d love to see him get his chance if the Reds wanted to do that. But if you think Alfredo Rodriguez is the guy to save this team then I’d be very careful what you wish for. There’s a high chance his production is the same as the guy you DFA’d to rush him there.

      • LDS

        I don’t think anyone is debating Garcia vs. Rodriguez. Give Garcia the time to develop as DG as emphasized several times. Rodriguez is a now or never guy while Freeman is 33, on his 6th team and isn’t the answer to any question. Is Rodriguez better defensively than Farmer, Freeman, or Suarez. Seems obvious. Will he out hit them? To be determined but the bar isn’t insurmountable. The Reds simply need to try something other than a steady stream of retreads and utility players.

      • Melvin

        I think David Bell has a lot to do with roster moves, which if so, I don’t trust the team’s judgement about AlfRod and how good he is and why he hasn’t been called up already.

  5. Mark Moore

    DH today and in town through Sunday. That’s plenty of opportunity for JV and AA provided it doesn’t rain. Dragons in Dayton starting next Tuesday. That looks like the next option for either or both.

    • Doug Gray

      With how protocols work this year I would not expect any big leaguers to rehab anywhere but Triple-A.

      • Mark Moore

        Thanks for that info, Doug. I didn’t know about all that.

  6. Rednat

    we need Aquino to have a big second half if we are going to competitive this year. He has such a high upside. i have high expectations for him.

  7. DataDumpster

    Most everybody is commenting on the “offense running on fumes” while Senzel, Votto, Moose and Aquino are on IL so I thought I would run some numbers. The Red’s current team AVG is .247.
    The AVG of our four IL players combined is .240 (with 11 homers). I wish all them well in their recovery and look forward to them returning but they weren’t exactly tearing it up either.

    • Doug Gray

      Why are we looking at BATTING AVERAGE on it’s own? It’s 2021.

      Kyle Farmer has played nearly every day since Moustakas was out.The average is like a 20 point difference. The OPS difference is 160 points.

      No, none of those guys were tearing it up. But they are significantly better hitters than Kyle Farmer or Alex Blandino or Mark Payton or Scott Heineman who have been the guys that have filled in for them.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Exactly Doug, Votto and AA are much better, and I put a lot of emphasis on BA, as I am an old guy.

    • 2020ball

      I’ll never understand why people put so much into BA, especially in the era of the shift.

    • greenmtred

      Also, if you take Winker and Castellanos out of the equation, the team’s avg. is lower yet, so they (Votto quite probably) are a significant improvement.

  8. Roger Garrett

    It will be interesting to see where everybody plays when the guys on IL return.If we go back to our opening day lineup we will be good on offense but I don’t see Suarez at short nor Senzel over Naquin in center.So we end up with Senzel,India and TySteve playing less and Aquino pinch hitting at best.Don’t think long term that is good but it is what it is.We shall see but there is not doubt we need Moose and Joey back and playing every day.

    • MBS

      I’d guess if all were healthy India is back in AAA, Naquin is CF, Suarez is back to SS, Senzel is 2B, and Moose is 3B. Stephensons playing time will increase at 1B, and he’ll pick up some games at 1B as well. Keep in mind that’s the whole team healthy, which is unlikely at any point, especially with some of the guys we have on the Reds.

      • MBS

        “Stephensons playing time will increase at C, and he’ll pick up some games at 1B as well.”

      • Jimbo44CN

        Disagree on India, he needs to be at second, with Senzel, well, playing at Center against left handers.

      • Melvin

        One thing is for sure and certain. Suarez, one way or another, has to STAY AWAY from SS.

    • ohiojimwalker

      Perhaps Aquino platoons in CF if Naquin is the “everyday” guy over Senzel there? It gets overlooked that Aquino is probably the best OF arm on the team (excluding Lorenzen when healthy armed). He likely does not track down balls as well as Akiyama (or Senzel) but at this stage in both of their careers may have better raw range than Akiyama. So, I am saying that with Lorenzen who not in the OF rotation Aquino is in the mix for best defensive OF on the team.

      Without a legitimate shortstop, Suárez will go back there. Senzel maybe a supersub who gets 4 starts a week?

  9. Melvin

    I’m very much looking forward to Votto and The Punisher coming back. As much as a like him Akiyama needs to be traded. Get the outfield down to four with Winker, Naquin, Castellanos, and Aquino with Lorenzen as the fifth if needed. I know Senzel is not in that list. I’m not counting on him for anything until he proves he can including even coming back this year.

    • Rex

      I hope someone has been on the phone with other teams lately to address this unless some of them boys want to pitch relief

      • Melvin

        I’m all for keeping Blandino on the roster… a pitcher. What exactly do we have to lose? 🙂