The Punisher has earned his nickname. Aristides Aquino has had it since he was 12-years-old, but he’s lived up to the billing and then some. He just picked up the National League Player of the Week Award on Monday afternoon. All he did last week was hit six home runs and a double in 24 plate appearances to go with a .500/.542/1.364 line. That’s an OPS of 1.905 for those keeping track at home. You don’t need to be Branch Rickey to understand just how insane that line is, even for a 1-week stretch.

Along the way he was setting and tying both Cincinnati Reds franchise records and Major League records. He continued to do that on Monday night in Washington. The 25-year-old outfielder homered for the eighth time on the season, a 425-foot shot to center field off of former Red Tanner Rainey on a 98-MPH fastball just above the belt. The next time that Aristides Aquino misses a mistake pitch in 2019 it will likely be the first time.

That home run in the eighth inning for Aquino set a new Major League record for most home runs in a players first 12 career games. Obviously that also sets the record for the Cincinnati Reds franchise, too. It’s absurd at this point what the Reds right fielder has done in 11 games this season (he played in 1 game in 2018 – which is why he’s got 12 career games). He’s now hitting .429/.474/1.143. His eight home runs already rank 7th on the team. He’s only one behind Nick Senzel, who has played in 81 games. He’s tied with Tucker Barnhart who has played in 74 games. Aquino is also tied with Jose Iglesias, who has played in 106 games. He’s hit more home runs than Kyle Farmer, Curt Casali, or Jose Peraza – all of whom have played in 60+ games.

Between Triple-A and the Major Leagues this season, Aristides Aquino has now played in 89 games. He’s hit 36 home runs across his 361 plate appearances between the two stops. In a 600 plate appearance pace, that’s 60 home runs. I’ve said it a few times in the last few days, but it’s worth repeating: This won’t last forever (probably), but my goodness it’s been fun. Enjoy this ride because we may not live long enough to see another one like it.

23 Responses

  1. Joey

    So, anyone done the math on how many at bats he has to get to qualify for rookie of the year? Does the 1 at bat from last year disqualify him from being a contender next year if he doesn’t get enough at bats this year? Just curious…

    • Doug Gray

      To be eligible for the following year’s rookie of the year a position player can’t spend more than 45 days on the active 25-man roster (September doesn’t count because the rosters are expanded), or they can’t have more than 130 at-bats in their career. I’m guessing he’ll get enough at-bats this year that he won’t be ROY eligible for 2020.

  2. Vottomatic125

    How hard will he come back down to Earth? Or what are his real projections?

  3. TR

    Congratulations to Aristides on a great start. Keep making contact a game at a time.

    • Abdul

      So any team could have picked this guy up? That’s one of the reasons we are below for all these years. Thank God for the pirates

  4. Don

    As much as the HRs are getting the headlines and are entertaining to watch

    The single to center on Sunday vs Lester on a low and outside change up shows that he can get a hit on the pitch as long as he does not try to hit a home run on it.

    If he can do that with the low outside pitch and hit the mistake pitches for home runs he will be a force in MLB in the long run. The team will live with a 25 to 30 % strike out rate if he can hit 40 HRs and bat 250, baseball analytics have that as the best way to score runs.

    Congrats to a great start of what hopefully is a long career.

    • Pete

      Don: It ‘s important to understand what the Reds want out of AA. They really don’t care about contact or going the other way, etc. They want him to be a difference make, every time he swings the bat he can change the game.

      They don’t want Joey Votto II, a great hitter with a discerning eye. They want a beast who smashes 450-foot homers with regularity…and Aquino is giving them, and the Reds, exactly that. This is the plan, we are seeing it. Unless the K’s interfere with AA’s production, I don’t care. I can tell few if anyone listens to this interview with Eckert when I post it but if you want to understand what they have in mind for their great slugger, he describes it perfectly. Listen to it:

      • Still a Red

        Yes, but I’m not sure the Reds really need another Adam Dunn, as awesome as he was, he never figured into a Reds post-season.

      • Pete

        Aquino could be historic, Adam Dunn was a nice regional story. Did the Yankees need Ruth?

      • Mason Red

        Using Babe Ruth as a comparison? That’s going a little far. AA has played a handful of games and he certainly has made an impression but I don’t think he’s the next Babe. I wish him all the best but eventually he will come back fo earth.

      • Jim Walker

        It is the job of the org to build a lineup which works, not the players’ fault if the org doesn’t get that done.

        Put the guys on base in front of AA; and, they will score much of the time. Also AA appears to be no worse than an average outfielder; and quite possibly an average + defender.

        BTW, Dunn’s career as a Red: .380/.520/.900 OPS; 129 wRC+.

      • Pete

        Mason, let me be the first to jump off the bridge. I think there’s a great possibility we have a once in a lifetime hitter on her hands. Ruth? I’m not ruling it out. I don’t know about you guys but every time the ball comes off his bat I’m thinking it’s a homerun. It’s weird, I know. I believe the chances are great at this fella can be a transformative baseball player. We’ll see in that is half the fun. No apologies.

        Cincinnati sports fans have been so beaten down over the last several years, I think they will be the last to see it.

      • Mason Red

        Pete it’s interesting you used Dunn since when he came up there were those who made comparisons to past sluggers although I’m not sure Babe Ruth was mentioned. Dunn was projected as the next great Reds player and slugger. He was pretty awesome at times but also maddeningly inconsistent. Jay Bruce was another. Nick Esaaky,Reggie Sanders,Paul Householder are players I remember off the top of my head who were considered to be sure fire stars and sluggers who didn’t exactly live up to those lofty expectations. I think Reds fans are enjoying the ride with AA but are also cautious because of the past and also that they know eventually he will come back to earth as many young players do. That doesn’t mean he will be a bust but chances are he won’t be the next Babe either.

      • Pete

        Mason, you made my point perfectly and I don’t blame your skepticism one little bit. But I have spent over a week trying to find a hole in AA’s game and the deeper I dig, the better he looks. If you ever have the time, go to Statcast and look at his raw numbers. A scouting report of AA’s intelligence, makeup and work ethic will impress you, link to Jason Linden’s post at Redleg Radio’s twitter feed:

        A separate but related thought: how bad has the Reds player development been? I have absolute trust in the new crew but to see how the organization originally missed with this kid’s raw skills is troubling. That’s behind us now and the future is very bright for this organization, we may actually develop our own homegrown talent. If Donnie Ecker hadn’t been on the scene, Aquino would probably be stuck in AA still trying to figure it out.

    • Pete

      Jim, I know you are recovering from your eye surgery and hope it is going well. I wish you the very best. You probably missed it but I posted that his sprint speed is in the 86% percentile. There are only three starting right fielders that are faster.

      • Jim Walker

        Yeah, I did miss that. Thanks for well wishes. If it just heals even as it is now not quite a week post op, my “bad” eye will be better than it had been in 5 years or ago. And that’s about it for my screen time allotment till late afternoon or evening.

  5. ToBeDetermined

    I only looked at the hit one time.
    But, it actually looked like he got jammed a little with that pitch.
    That’s some power !

    • Pete

      TBD: the pitch had a velocity of 98 mph and was on the inside corner of the plate, not a meatball. If you slow it down by pausing the video intermittently (frame-by-frame) you can see how far Aquino had to pull his arms in tight to his body to the get the barrel on it and still hits it 425 feet. Eric Davis bat speed.

      • ToBeDetermined


        Cool. Thanks for the analysis.

  6. Streamer88

    This can happen when young guys get called up at the right time for their development and momentum. He’s keeping it simple, see ball hit ball.

    MLB pitchers are the best in the world at disrupting that simplicity. Failing 75% of the time at something will make it worse. His first 30-50 ABs are batting practice. It’ll never be this easy for him ever again once they develop the scouting report on him.

    Happy for the guy, and I wish him the best. Dark days are ahead – let’s see if he adjusts and finishes his maturation.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree that dark days are ahead and it always has been and will be about making adjustments.Will he takes his walks and will he take his singles is what its about for me.So far he has in a very small sample size but one thing is for sure he won’t have to get much of any ball that he lifts because its going out.He hit one Saturday down the line off the handle and it went out.His power is off the charts but pitchers will adjust and right now would anybody pitch to him with the game on the line?We haven’t had a guy like that in years.I would put him batting third right now and move Suarez behind him and JVM behind him.He needs to be given as many at bats as possible in every game as possible.

  7. Matt WI

    At the very least, they have a Pete Alonso on their hands… he’s had a heck of a year himself.

    But I’m with Doug… just enjoy this particular ride. It’s even better than when Billy Hamilton arrived on the scene and broke our minds with his speed… until he broke our hearts with his inability to do it consistently.