Brandon Finnegan had not pitched in a game since March 15th in spring training. He struggled mightily for the Reds during his time in Goodyear, and was optioned to the minors on March 26th. Two days later he was designated for assignment and cleared waivers. When he was outrighted to the minors he was assigned to the Billings Mustangs.

He didn’t show up anywhere in the first half. When the Mustangs season was set to begin, the Reds moved his roster spot to “extended spring training”, where he was listed on the injured list for six weeks before being sent to join the Chattanooga Lookouts on Thursday. Last night he got into a game for for the first time since the spring. And he looked good, too.

With the Lookouts trailing 11-7 Brandon Finnegan took the mound for the bottom of the 6th inning. The first pitch he threw went to the backstop. Then the left-handed pitcher got three straight swinging strikes on fastballs to record his first out. He would strike out the next batter in the inning, too – getting a 4th swinging strike of the inning on a fastball. The third batter of the inning did single up the middle on a line drive, but the final batter of the inning grounded out to end the inning.

There were no reports on his velocity. And he only threw 15 pitches in total, 10 of which were strikes. Mostly fastballs, but he threw three breaking balls in the inning. He looked good. The velocity does matter, and without that we do have an incomplete picture – the drop off in velocity for Brandon Finnegan over the last 5 years is part of the reason he struggled. But from a “how did it look?” perspective, it looked good. Four swinging strikes on a fastball in a game is usually a solid game for a starter. Finnegan got that in one inning.

Aristides Aquino with another moonshot

Another day, another homer for Aristides Aquino. The Triple-A Louisville Bats have a battle on their hands for the franchise record for their single season home run record. Brian O’Grady entered the day with the record at 26. He set the record in *checks notes* 2019. Yes, he has already set the franchise record for home runs while the season is still in July. That Major League Baseball is certainly doing some things, huh? In the last two days it’s been Aquino’s turn to make his run at the record and he’s hit two different 430+ foot homers to bring his season total even with O’Grady at 26 home runs.


On Thursday night he homered deep to center field for a 437-foot home run. Last night he went a tad further, crushing one 440 feet to left-center and maybe breaking some dudes hand who thought it would be a good idea to try and catch it with his bare hands. When a guy nicknamed The Punisher hits a ball towards you, don’t try to catch it unless you have a glove and plan on using it. Even then, maybe think twice.

Chad Tromp out to a good start with Louisville

Last night wasn’t just the Aristides Aquino show. Chad Tromp, who has only been with the Bats for a little over a week as he’s come back from shoulder surgery last year, continued to crush the ball for Louisville. He too hit a long home run, measuring in at 428 feet. It was his third home run in six games with the Bats.


Chad Tromp spent three weeks rehabbing with the Arizona League Reds, hitting .271/.410/.500 in 16 games there. In the six games since joining Louisville he’s hit .333/.375/.933 with three home runs accounting for 60% of his hits thus far.

29 Responses

  1. Justin

    I’d love to know how guys like Aquino are seen by other clubs in regards to trades. Not a top ranked prospect, but hitting like a top 10 prospect. With only this year of evidence and the new MLB ball in AAA, are these numbers being taken seriously or disregarded?

    • Wes

      His power fits in well with today’s baseball. You usually never see players like that traded but if I’m a team like Miami or an AL team that can utilize his defense a bit in right (he has a cannon)- They should have interest in him. Still a project but he just needs a place to play next year.

      Unfortunately cincy is not a good fit. Trade away one of your 3/4 best players in Puig for a project and reds will finish last next season.

    • Oldtimer

      Aquino is in his ninth year of MiLB play. Poop or get off the pot year for him.

      • Oldtimer

        I saw him in Orem UT versus Billings in 2015. Physically he remind me of Eric Davis.

  2. MK

    Aquino’s shots are reminiscent of George Foster’s back in the day. I was in left field one night in Riverfront and he hit a ball that came right at us. Almost in slow motion it kept getting bigger. It hit the seat directly in front of me,about 8 rows back and sounded like someone shot a shotgun. It bounced back on the field.They lady behind me said you should have caught it. I told if I had missed and it hit me l could have died.

    • DaveCT

      It looks like he’s a kid in a hat field hitting his dad’s golf balls with his favorite bat.

  3. MikeD

    That’s hilarious MK! Great story.

    Small sample size, but Van Meter’s success so far bodes well for others who are raking in triple A.

    So I have yet to hear a thing about Senzel. Have I missed something?

    With Van Meter’s and Ervins success and a couple others knocking at the door I think the Reds should see what they can get for Puig, AND Winker. It would be interesting if there’s any real value for Winker? Both Van Meter and Ervin need opportunity to play everyday and not be pigeonholed as platoon guys. Van Meter has the power capability to replace Puig I believe.

    I love Scooter, but obviously he may not be in the long term plans, so trading him and seeing what you can get for Dietrick would also open up playing time for guys the Reds need to figure out.

    • Oldtimer

      Senzel has allergies and those made him sick.

    • Bill

      First, here’s the story on Senzel from the Red’s website:

      As for Winker, everyone should be available for the right return, but he’s not someone I want the Reds to move. I suspect his early season numbers were somewhat affected by his 2018 season-ending shoulder injury. If you take away Mar/Apr/May of this year, over his career he’s one of the most consistent hitters you’ll find generating an OPS+ or 120 or better and getting on base nearly 40% of the time. Moreover, his power is increasing in his Age 25 season.

      Defensive metrics hurt his WAR, but I have noticed significant improvement this year. His defensive metrics are also hurt by playing in CF (which he does serviceably, but lacks the foot speed to excel) and by playing RF where his arm is below average. In the future, I’d like to see him stick in LF. As a LF I think his floor is an above average starter and with increased power, he’s a borderline all-star.

      VanMeter needs to play everyday, but at 2B. Dietrich and Scooter can come off the bench as VanMeter can move around the field to give his teammates occasional off days. I’m pretty optimistic about Aquino. O’Grady, Longhi and Crook could all be nice bench pieces or optionable depth at AAA.

      Ervin should take over RF when Puig is traded, and as much as I’ve enjoyed watching him play in a Reds uniform this year, he should be traded. I’d be shocked if we couldn’t get a decent return for him that would surpass a potential QO draft pick.

      • Oldtimer

        VanMeter fits at 3B or LF too. Not so much as 2B.

      • Bill

        Oldtimer, can you elaborate?

        VanMeter has time at a lot of position as a professional baseball player, but 2B is where he’s played most, by a fair margin. 2B is also the Reds least productive position right now. Gennett has been abysmal since returning from the IL and Dietrich has been anemic over the last two months as well. As both players bat LH, I don’t see him taking playing time from Winker, and Suarez is going to play everyday at 3B. If the Reds want to give VanMeter extended playing time, 2B is probably the best spot.

      • Curt

        At this point, all indications show Winker needs a platoon partner in LF, a role which Phil Ervin seems to fit nicely. So if Puig is traded, I would give Aquino the shot in RF, his natural position I believe.

        VanMeter will play fine at any of 2B, 3B or LF.

        Probably now or never for O’Grady at this point as well.

        Deadline will reveal quite a bit I think. Whether moves are made or not.

      • Oldtimer

        Reds have other 2B options. Obviously 3B is filled. LF is best fit.

  4. Bill published their midseason prospect list. I was surprised that Aquino and O’Grady didn’t make the list while Longhi made the list (albeit #30). VanMeter is no longer eligible as he has surpassed 45 days on the Reds roster.

    • Doug Gray

      I will be writing about it this weekend, but when I saw where Joel Kuhnel ranked, in comparison to some other pitchers, I kind of just shook my head in disappointment.

      • Bill

        I agree; one would think a reliever with a 70 fastball, two major league average off-speed pitches and above average control that is absolutely dominating would be higher in the rankings.

        Their writeup about Longhi states he has “a chance of him being a lefty bat off the bench who can play both outfield corners and first on occasion.” Unfortunately, Longhi is a RH hitter. Just kind of illustrates what may be an overall lack of attention to detail in the rankings.

        That said, they have the best graphics!

    • Norwood Nate hasn’t been the gold standard by any means, but even with that said, I do have a few issues with their rankings at this point.

      I think they have Stephenson too low, even at #8. I’d probably have him at #5 at this point. Siri too low too at #16, even after a middling season, his floor is still higher than most. Fairchild was another position player I thought was rated too low at #17 but not off by too much, and the absence of Aquino doesn’t make much sense with the season’s he’s having. Kuhnel and Herget may deserve to be a few spots higher as well.

      I like Moss but he’s probably not #12. I don’t know why Siani and Garcia are rated lower than Callihan and Hinds either. Not sure what Heatherly’s really shown to be ranked at #18. Beltre keeps getting rated without any production to back it up. Would think Vlad would be further down than #11 after the season he’s had.

      TBH, the rankings are kind of all over the place.

      • Shawn

        I agree with everything you said. You must be really smart. LOL

  5. MikeD

    So the Reds are now open to trading Iglesias. He may be the most valuable trade asset. I hope his value has not diminished to much. In my opinion they should have considered trading him long before now. Relievers are so volatile, holding on to one is always risky for non-contending teams.

    Doug, I’m not exactly sure what your post is referring to?

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t know what you’re referring to about not knowing what I’m referring to.

      What post? I didn’t link to any post. I didn’t reference some article here.

      • Martino

        Maybe a reference to the post you haven’t written yet..? It’s in reference to what you’re not sure what it’s not referring to.. I hope that clears up the unclearable. LOL

  6. SteveLV

    The emergence of Van Meter, Ervin, and Sonny Gray’s return to solid #2 starter status, along with Senzel’s solid play seem like the positive headlines from this season. Finding out if Aquino can be added to that list seems important enough that the Reds should figure out a way to make that happen.
    I also think that some kind of blockbuster trade needs to happen in order to structure the roster better. Suarez, Winker, and Iglesias seem like the players who have real value but could be replaced. The Reds have a lot of options at 2B, 3B, LF, and RF (both now and in the system), but as noted by many here, real weakness at C and SS. Could a package along the lines of Suarez, Winker, Iglesias be turned into a great SS?

    • jbonireland

      Certainly those three ought to bring in a quality player or two, do you have anyone in mind. Senzel to 3B, would work, we should have enough outfielders in the system to cover CF, although getting rid of Winker takes a left handed bat out of the lineup.

      • SteveLV

        Good question. Not sure the answer to my own question would be yes, but:

        Cory Seager or Gavin Lux
        Jorge Polanco, with Twins having Royce Lewis in the wings
        Carter Kieboom, although can see Turner in CF and Nationals building around those two plus Soto and Robles
        Marte or Escobar from Diamondbacks if either is capable at SS
        Andrelton Simmons, although only has a year remaining on contract

        Might be better ideas out there, and know it won’t be cheap, but think the concept is worth pursuing.

    • Curt

      I think you might be able to get a young MLB ready C or SS for Suarez alone. Probably get something else in return as well.
      I support your line of thinking.

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