Aristides Aquino is a phenomenon. But with every home run the Reds’ rookie outfielder hits and just keeps hitting, he makes it slightly harder to dismiss as a late-season, Kevin Maas/Shane Spencer–type smash-in-a-pan, and adds evidence that he might just be a young dude who’s really, really good at hitting.
The 25-year-old Aquino, an unheralded prospect as recently as this spring, is now slashing .315/.384/.787. But we are here for the dingers. We were here when Aquino became the first player in MLB history to homer eight times in his first 12 games, and we remain here for what Aquino did last night in Cincinnati’s 5-0 win over the Marlins, when he became the first major leaguer ever to homer 13 times in his first 100 career plate appearances.
Aquino achieved the record on plate appearance No. 100, pulling a Sandy Alcantara non-sinking sinker comically hard to left.
Aquino, delightfully nicknamed “The Punisher,” separated himself from two recent red-hot rookies:
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The blast also made Aquino the only player to hit 13 home runs in his first 27 career games, and tied Cody Bellinger for an NL rookie record for most home runs in a calendar month. He’s now three back of Greg Vaughn for the Reds franchise record for homers in a month, with four games left in August.
“You just have to watch him and enjoy it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I wish I had words to better describe what we’re all seeing. But let’s just watch it and enjoy it. He’s doing everything he can to keep it going.”
Aquino was non-tendered at the end of last season and it looked like his rise through the farm system had stalled out, but he revamped his swing in the spring and mashed at Triple-A, finally getting the call-up after the Reds traded away Yasiel Puig. He’s been a monster and a machine ever since. It’s not going to mean much for the Reds this year—they’re eight games out of a wild card—but Aquino’s future is wide open.