Aristides Aquino was designated for assignment on April 30th. Today he officially cleared waivers and the Cincinnati Reds outrighted the outfielder to Triple-A Louisville.
Aquino, affectionately known as The Punisher, had one of the more memorable first months of a career as anyone in all of Major League Baseball history. He hit .320/.391/.767 with 14 home runs – setting records for the fastest to X-number of home runs to begin a career along the way. But August of 2019 was a long time ago.
When the calendar flipped over to September, Aristides Aquino struggled. The outfielder hit .196/.236/.382 during the month, though he did add five more home runs during the month.
From that point forward Aquino never recovered. In his 414 plate appearances that followed August of 2019 over parts of the next three seasons The Punisher did very little punishing. He would hit just .173/.261/.356 in that time frame and he struck out 151 times. Things were even worse in 2022 as he hit just .049 in his 43 plate appearances and struck out 23 times while walking just twice.
The offensive struggles for Aquino are obvious. He strikes out entirely too often. Even in 2019 when he was crushing the ball he chased pitches out of the zone at a very high rate. He’s actually cut down on his outside the zone swing rate since, but it’s still very high. But while he’s cut that rate down, he’s also swung at pitches in the zone far less than he did in 2019, too. He’s not swinging and missing in the zone any more than he has at any point, he’s just not swinging at strikes nearly as often. Whether that’s by design or whether he’s simply being fooled by pitches more frequently – it’s a problem that needs to be fixed if he’s going to make his way back to the big leagues. For now he will head back to the International League to work on things at the plate with the Louisville Bats.