It had been a tough start to the Dominican Winter League season for Aristides Aquino. He entered the game on Wednesday night having gone 3-30 (.100) in the first eight games. Aquino had walked seven times with 10 strikeouts, but when he was making contact he simply wasn’t doing any sort of damage. All of that changed against the Gigantes del Cibao. In the 1st inning Aquino unloaded on for a 3-run home run to put his team up 5-0.

Six innings later his team hadn’t scored since and were trailing 6-5 when he came up to the plate with a runner on. Just like in the 1st inning Aquino unloaded for a home run. This time he put his team in front 7-6 with the 2-run homer.

Aristides Aquino had played in 64 games in the Dominican Winter League dating back to 2015. Early on he didn’t play much, combining for just four games in his first two years. Still, in his 64 games he had 190 plate appearances and he had homered just one time. Wednesday saw him triple his career home run total in the league. He has really struggled to hit in the league for his career – not just hit for power – as he’s posted a career .202/.286/.295 line during his time with Escogido (2015-2017) and Licey (2018-present).

42 Responses

  1. CI3J

    It’s really a shame that Aquino can’t be more consistent offensively, because he’s really exceptional defensively.

    As we learned with Billy Hamilton, that’s simply not enough. If Aquino can’t put it together this year, he’s going to have to try to do it for another team.

    • kypodman

      put it together this year or he will be trying to for another team? he will be trying to put it together while playing for another team this year and in the minors!

  2. Redsvol

    If you watch those pitches, there is no comparison with the speed and movement of todays mlb pitchers.

    Aquino’s talent is tantalizing, but he can’t hit mlb pitching. Time to move on.

  3. Mark Moore

    I’d say he’s a candidate for Korea or Japan, but don’t they throw a whole lot more breaking and off-speed stuff? Seems that’s his Kryptonite so I’m not sure that particular change of scenery would work for him.

    • Jim Walker

      I think AA would/ will do fine in Asia. Starting in 2019 he has obliterated AAA pitching every stint he has seen it, whether on rehab or option/ outright assignment. From what I have read, the overall level of pitching is no better and probably not as good as what he has seen in AAA.

      Watching Aquino play at AAA via MiLBTV I have seen individual pitchers make him look as bad as he sometimes does at MLB but overall the quality just isn’t consistently there to do that. I suspect the same would hold true for pitching he would see in Asia.

      When push comes to shove, it is the very top grade slider which is Aquino’s bane at MLB; and occasionally he gets on runs where he hits or at least avoids being marginalized by that pitch even at MLB. If the Japanese or Korean leagues had guys who could consistently throw the quality sliders that befuddle AA, those guys would be flooding into MLB; and, they aren’t.

      • Mark Moore

        Good points. And they would be with an MLB team as you suggest.

        I keep remembering that the other 29 teams had their shot at him and declined, so I’m still thinking we’re his last port of call in MLB.

      • Jim Walker

        To me, Aquino is beyond a 4A player. Call him a 4A+ or whatever. His skills rate a bench spot on a contender. That’s not the Reds situation.

        Even offensively he had 2 separate runs of 3 weeks or so each where he put up offensive numbers in the 110-120 OPS+ range but then he also had those spells of worse than nada. Life is strange. Sports even more so.

  4. Steve Schoenbaechler

    He’s nothing more than a bench player honestly. That’s what I would say. Good glove would mean a defensive replacement. Power bat means good for a potential late inning pinch hit HR. But, playing regular? Only if the rest of the club has the bats to hide his bat. This Reds team doesn’t have that.

  5. Chris Holbert

    He is going to be 29 YO shortly after the season starts. He should well be into his prime by now, and folks still talk about his potential and putting it all together. Any other MLB team would have moved on awhile ago, but the Reds FO keep their fingers crossed and hope. Hope is not a plan.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree. Stuart Fairchild is ~2 years younger and aside from his arm seems to have all the qualities Aquino has sans the very high K rate; and, thus subsequently an attractive OBP to go with the slugging % and defensive skills in the OF.

      I’d go so far as to say that unless the Reds convert EDLC to CF or go out and trade for or sign a strong offensive CF (fat chance that), the Reds most likely don’t have anyone within 2-3 years of MLB who would do the all around job for them in CF that Fairchild could.

      • BK

        I’m riding shotgun with you on the Fairchild bandwagon.

      • David

        JIm champions Stuart Fairchild a lot.
        Is he related?? Or..maybe related to…Morgan Fairchild? Yeah, that’s the ticket! 🙂 (that’s a joke, please don’t take it seriously)

        Seriously, I would like to see Fairchild get as much of a chance with the Reds that Aquino has gotten. I think the guy (Fairchild) has real potential, but we need to see more of him. And he can run well, and could play center.

        These guys do need some time to prove or disprove their ability to hit in the Majors. Most guys CAN’T hit those incredible sliders that pitchers throw up in the Bigs, but they can at least recognize them sometimes, and either lay off or foul them off.
        Equally, I see some people here are already to give up on Spencer Steer, after about 100 ML at bats. Really, give the guy 3-400 AB’s to see what he has.

      • LDS

        I have a feeling that Senzel, Fraley, and Friedl will all be ahead of Fairchild in the Bell-verse. Fairchild has better splits and seemingly more upside but besides Jim, I don’t see he gets as much respect from the fans or the team.

  6. Oldtimer

    I would give Aquino one more year as a Red.

    Not exactly the same but George Foster came up in 1969 as SFG and was traded to CIN in 1971. He started to blossom in 1974 and really started to “get it” in 1975.

    • Mark Moore

      I’d have to disagree. I think we’re well beyond the “late bloomer” stage at this point. And Foster was a completely different era as well.

    • David

      Foster was sent down to AAA ball to begin 1973 season, after spending the 1972 season as an extra outfielder with the Reds (Scored the winning run, as a pinch runner, against the Pirates in the NLCS playoffs).
      Struggled down in AAA for a while, then started to crush the ball.
      He came up in September 73 and platooned in Right Field with a young Ken Griffey. George hit pretty well in that stretch, but was not on the post-season roster (the Reds won the Western Division when the Dodgers flopped down the stretch again). They put Griffey on the post -season roster to play the Mets, which might have been a mistake, as the Mets Left – handed pitching (Koosman and Matlock) really ate up the Reds.

      • Oldtimer

        Regardless Foster first came to MLB in 1969 but didn’t really blossom until 1974 or 1975.

        Aquino deserves one more chance.

    • LDS

      I agree @Oldtimer. At this point, I’d take Fairchild and Aquino ahead of Fraley and Friedl.

      • 2020ball

        Unless they sign Judge or someone similar, I’m not sure why you wouldnt consider all 4 of those guys for next years OF.

      • LDS

        Judge? Now that’s funny. At this point, I’d settle for Puig. At least, he was a competitor. Crazy maybe. Or maybe get Jr & Davis to suit up again. Couild they really be any worse than this current lot?

  7. Daytonnati

    Aquino reminds me of the old Charles Schultz Peanuts meme where every year Lucy promises Charlie Brown that this time, regardless of previous tricks, THIS TIME, she will indeed tee up the ball for Charlie to kick. Charlie, always a sucker, chooses to trust her.

  8. eddiek957

    Fraley gets no love. What the reds have in the OF he’s probably the best offensive player.

    • Jim Walker

      Farley is very good vs RH pitching but his splits are worse than even Winker vs LH pitching. Find a league average or better RH hitter vs LH pitching to use with Fraley as a platoon partner. But that guy should not be Fairchild because he is also better than League average vs RH pitching, a very rare commodity for the Reds.

  9. Harry Stoner

    Fraley was a key piece in the Suarez / Winker deal.
    No way he’s going anywhere soon.
    He’s the cover for Krall to pretend it wasn’t a salary dump.
    Same with Dunn.
    Dunn will linger on because to bail on him would mean it was a bad trade.
    Krall doesn’t want this to be seen as a Bailey redux.

    Williamson is obvioiusly the key to it.
    If he turns out to be a solid mid rotation pitcher perhaps it was worth it.

    There were folks here saying they’d “….take Fraley over Winker any day…”

    Time will tell on that.

    I was sorely down on the guy when he first arrived and am hardly enamored now.
    He did have some MOR numbers in platoon rotation.

    Showed some punch in GASP.

    I’m not expecting Senzel or Fairchild to suddenly bust out send him packing.

    We’re going to likely see some very marginal differences and a lot of nit-picking over folks’ preferences.

    Friedl is more the guy on the bubble for me. I honestly don’t see what he contributes besides ‘grit’ which remains a big seller in Cincinnati.

    • 2020ball

      So Fraley sucks, Senzel and Fairchild need to go, and Friedl is just a bubble guy that provides something this team needs more of. Who in Gods name are you starting in your OF next season?

      • Harry Stoner

        I don’t really understand your question or your online impatience.

        My post didn’t imply that Fraley susshes. Only that he’s likely a player w clear limits in his abilities. At very best a replacement for Naquin who hopefully stays on the field more.

        I didn’t suggest Senzel or Faitchild need to go, only that they aren’t suddenly going to turn into All Stars.

        Friedl can go back to AAA in my opinion, but that’s not likely, but I’m not expecting more than the .240-.250 range hitter we’ve seen.

        He may well benefit from the pickoff throw limitation and better utilize his speed.

        But he’s not going to turn into a Nick C.

        Who would I start?

        Barring acquisition of anyone, it would have to be a similar rotation we saw at the end of the season: Fairchild, platooning Fraley, a healthy Senzel and whoever survives ST: Aquino or Friedl.

        Just because I think they are all very marginal talents doesn’t I don’t think they will play.

        The Reds outfield is mediocre at best. They can survive with it maybe if they’re not having to dig themselves out of 3 or 4 run deficits in the 7th inning after the bullpen melts down again.

        If the Reds don’t invest in a better hitting outfield then invest in the bullpen to keep games under control.

        Or muddle along further.

      • Votto4life

        The reds could pull three random outfielders from the waiver wire and I bet they would do at least as well as our current outfield.

        Seriously, on what good team would players like Fraley, Aquino or Senzel start?

      • TR

        I’ve always been pro Aquino, but more than enough chances have been given and AA is not a consistent ML hitter. Try to include him in a trade to strengthen the bullpen. This will open the outfield to what the Reds have now, and the possibility that in spring training a prospect could come forward for the outfield, since acquiring a free agent seems to be out of the question.

    • MBS

      Fraley is the only OF who deserves to be on a MLB roster. He also only works as a platoon, so we have 1/2 of a MLB outfielder. I know most don’t think we’ll spend $, but it’s the only way out of our predicament. Otherwise we’ll be playing AAAA guys all year. Unless they move India to a corner OF, but I doubt they do either.

      • BK

        Fraley gives us 75 to 80 percent of an outfielder as the LH portion of a platoon. I see Friedl as a 4th/5th OF, but a solid one. Fairchild performed very well in his playing time–AAA numbers are solid, his K-rate improved with playing time, and he is solid across the board (defense, run, bat). I’d like to see the Reds bring someone in either long-term (perhaps Benintendi) or a short-term flip candidate (Conforto).

      • MBS

        @BK, I’m with you on the Benintendi pick, I’d prefer the long term fix.

        I’m not knocking these guys, they’re just not good enough to be on a good team, and I want the Reds to be a good team.

        If we had Benintendi, Fraley, and India as our outfield that would be pretty good. Assuming India could man a corner position. Then a Fairchild could be a good fit as a 4th, with hopefully a better option coming soon.

      • old-school

        Jim Bowden has his top 25 FA with predictions up today. Benintendi is 5/$75 mil. Not happening on Joe Nuxhall way.

        I thought the Reds could spend some in areas of need with 2-3 year deals to bridge things but Krall has said no significant FA signing.

        Josh Bell at 3/39 and Tyler Anderson at 2/24 would fit nicely as Well as Diaz at 4/64 per Bowden’s estimates and a quality FA catcher and lefty outfielder- Maybe Joc Pederson. But, it will be outfield and bullpen and infield and SP sorting rinse and repeat

      • MBS

        I didn’t see where Krall said that. I think those values are the kind the Reds could afford. Adding Bell, Benintendi, and E. Diaz would change things for the outlook of the 23 season. It won’t be very much fun in 23 otherwise.

        There is a long list of guys I’m excited to see make it to the Reds in 23, and into 24, but I want W’s along the way.

    • Optimist

      Farley and Dunn were the add-ons to the deal. Williamson and Phillips were the prime pieces, which makes sense both for rebuilding and pitching reasons.

      Farley is a fine 5th OFer, but what you’ve seen is what you get. Dunn, however, has mid-rotation talent but serious lingering injury history. If he performs persistently at all, the Reds could have a very good deal, even if the prospects barely make a difference.

  10. Roger Garrett

    Just another year to sort in 2023 but the Reds must make some decisions and just move on from some players.Reds under Bob hold on to vets to long and younger players get thrown under the bus almost daily.Both of these things are holding this team back from being competitive.Aquino has been given a legit shot and as much as I like his other skills he can’t hit.He must be cut and lets see what these other guys can do at the plate this year with 400 or 500 at bats and please lets not hold on to these below average vets that aren’t under contract in 2023.All that does is keep a younger player on the bench as Bob and crew try to convince us and at times it does that we are trying to win.Lets stick to a plan of going young and lets see what happens.Moose and Joey play out there contracts but the other guys are playing to get one.Yeah we could be worse next year but so what.Until the team is sold or we strike it rich with a few of these minor league guys we are just not going to compete.

    • Harry Stoner

      One of the pleasures of baseball is that on any given day watching any game should be enjoyable.

      The Reds don’t have to be able to compete for the playoffs to be able to compete in games at least 3-4 days a week.

      I see that as two different goals.

      The latter building towards the former.

      Some of that was going on in 2022 but not nearly enough with the historically bad bullpen and anemic run production.

      Castillo, Lodolo, and Greene should have led to a least another 10-12 wins between them.

      Not enough to get in the playoffs, but at least ten more days of enjoyable baseball over the course of the summer.

  11. Votto4life

    I think there is a good chance the team in 2023 will be worst than in 2022. The 2022 Reds played most of the season with Castillo and Mahle in the rotation and Brandon Drury in the line up. Not to mention the contribution of guys like Tommy Pham and Donovan Solano for part of the year.

    I realize there were a lot of injuries last year, but whose to say they will have any better luck with injuries this season? It seems to be a problem every, single year.

    The Reds could temper some of that I suppose by signing a couple of one year free agents again in the Spring, but it sure sounds like the Reds are still in the “tear down” phase.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded Marte or another one of the young infielders in order to move Moustakas’ contract.

    I think the Reds would trade Alex Diaz in a heartbeat if the could dump Moose’s remaining salary, but I don’t Diaz alone gets that done.

    • Optimist

      A lot here to agree with, but I doubt they’ll be worse. They’ve shown they can find another set of Solano/Drury/Pham and will likely do so. I suppose the bullpen could be worse, but that would really take some doing.

      Alas, the best they could do would be to simply release Moose, or package him in some kind of deal, but I doubt they’ll do either – the price in prospect add-ons would be too great, and they’re not eating all the cost. I have slight hope they’ll find a bad-contract swap somewhere, but that may not accomplish much.

      Unless the injuries were due to staff incompetence (possible but unlikely) a healthier lineup alone is worth 5-7 wins, and 100-loss season is tough to exceed in any circumstance.

      I’d project them at 95L with no changes, under 90 if they accomplish anything in the offseason.

      • Votto4life

        Picking up 10 wins over last year’s total would be a sensational season for them…but keep in mind the Reds will be playing a balanced schedule in 2023..they won’t have the luxury of playing the Pirates 19 times.

        Of course, it’s way too early tell what the OD roster is going to look like, but just going by some of Nick Krall’s comments, I am expecting something like 57-105 in 2023. Maybe, with some luck, they can make it back to 65-68 wins in 2024.

      • Optimist

        I overlooked the schedule – that takes it back to 100L. Banning the shift may help them, but not really that much. Still tough to believe the pitching will be worse, either the pen or starters, even without Castillo and Mahle’s 1/2 seasons.

        All said, it’s hard to lose more than 100 games without seriously tanking. And as good as 90L would be, that’s still very bad.

    • Harry Stoner

      As pessimistic as it is easy to be, there’s no way the Reds are giving up Marte or Diaz to unload one year of Moose’s contract.

      That doesn’t make any sense even in the worst of Krall bashing scenarios.

      Krall must know his reputation and future depend on the results of this year’s trades.

      It would be professionally as well as organizationally reckless to double down on the salary dump this winter.

      Can’t see that happening.

      If they could have off loaded Moose contract they would have done it last year.
      Suarez must have been Plan B.

  12. Votto4life

    Yeah the balanced schedule could be a factor could be a factor, but you can never be sure it will turn out that way.

    I’ve always felt the quickest way to improve a ball club, is to improve it’s bullpen. I think the reason the Reds won the World Series in 1990 was because the season was delayed because of a strike/lock out and the Reds had such a good point it allowed them to get off to that great start.

    Relief Pitchers are fickle, they can look terrible one season and untouchable the next. Maybe some of the guys in the bullpen will figure it out. Maybe the Reds will add a reliever or two and the bullpen will take off. The one nice thing about last place, there is no where to go but up.

    I have been rooting for the Reds since I was a little boy. I want to see them win. I am just very angry with the owner and his son right now. I am selfish I guess, I am old. I want to see this team when again while I am still around to enjoy it.