A lot of Cincinnati Reds fans were upset when the team sent Yasiel Puig to the Indians in a deal that brought in Trevor Bauer. That feeling was short-lived due to a young Dominican Republic prospect in Aristides Aquino. Even though he’s had a good season in Triple-A with Louisville, Aquino’s overall minor league numbers didn’t show a lot on terms of being an everyday outfielder. He has shown spurts if power before, but never was a solid hitter in the minors. But the Reds front office obviously saw something that many didn’t. And so far, it has paid off dearly for them.
Aquino didn’t show a lot in his first two MLB games this season as he went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. Since then, the 25-year old has batted .591/.625/2.216. Those splits aren’t a typo either. Aquino is living up to his nickname “The Punisher” by hitting a home run in four straight games and hitting seven homers in ten games this season. Last nights three home run performance against the Cubs could be a glimpse of the tremendous upside that he has. That feat alone seen him tie Trevor Story for the most home runs in a player’s first ten games. He also became the first rookie in MLB history to homer in three straight innings. In the series with the Cubs alone, Aquino has hit five home runs and is batting .500/.538/2.372. Again, those numbers aren’t a typo. He’s punishing baseballs right now.
The emergence of Aquino has come at a critical time for the Reds. Cincinnati is flirting with having a winning record for the first time since 2013. They are six games back in the NL Central and 4.5 games back in the NL Wildcard race. The team has had a solid rotation all season long, but lack of offense has been their downfall. What Aquino has brought to the table is not only outstanding offensive performance but also a huge wave of energy to this offense. The Reds have 47 games to make a run at postseason play. They’ll need some help along the way, but a strong offense to go with a stellar rotation could be the key in making a surge.
Another huge plus with Aquino is that he’s under team control until 2023. The Reds could have found their everyday right fielder with Aquino, which gives this team a young, strong outfielder unit. With Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, and Phillip Ervin, Aquino could make this unit one of the best in baseball. Even when his numbers come back down to earth a little, he still has a huge upside and has revitalized the fan base in Cincinnati. Not too bad for a guy that wasn’t even ranked in the organization’s Top-30 prospects at the start of the season.