We’ve seen Aristides Aquino put his name all over the Major League, and by default of that, Cincinnati Reds record books for the home runs he’s hit in 2019. He’s needed the fewest number of games to ever hit 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 home runs. He’s the only player to ever hit 13 home runs in his first 100 career plate appearances.
To be blunt, he’s killing the baseball at a rate at which baseball has never seen a rookie do it before. And he was doing that in the minor leagues this season, too. On top of the 13 home runs in the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds this season, The Punisher also hit 28 home runs for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He did that while missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury, too. That gives the outfielder 41 home runs on the season with a month to play.
As I watched him hit another 400+ foot home run in Miami last night I began thinking about all of the homers he’s hit this year. And how he’s hit 40+ homers this year between his two stops. That took me down memory lane to 2001. Adam Dunn was a 21-year-old star prospect entering that season, but by the time he was called up later in the season he was arguably the top prospect in all of baseball. Between Double-A and Triple-A he hit an absurd .334/.444/.671 with 22 doubles and 32 home runs in just 94 games. The Reds called him up on July 20th that year. He played in 66 games with Cincinnati that year and hit another 18 doubles and 19 more home runs. That gave Dunn 51 home runs on the year between the minors and majors.
Can Aristides Aquino catch 2001 Adam Dunn’s 51 home run mark? It’s not going to be easy. Dunn had an advantage in playing time that season. He played in 160 games between his stops that year. With the earlier starts to the regular season now, and time missed on the injured list, the most games that Aristides Aquino will be able to play in this season is 134. And that’s if he plays in every game and doesn’t get a day off the rest of the season.
With 30 games left, the Reds right fielder needs 10 home runs to tie Dunn’s mark of 51 and 11 to pass it. That’s a lot to ask of anyone. But, Aristides Aquino also has 13 home runs in 26 games played in the Major Leagues this season. He’s already shown that he’s capable of doing it.
Chasing down Adam Dunn is going to be fun to follow. But that’s not the only thing that Aristides Aquino could be chasing down. As far as I have been able to track there are only three seasons where a player under contract with the Reds hit 50 home runs. Hank Sauer hit 50 for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs in 1947. He was the lone player on the list for a long time. Then George Foster joined him in 1977 with 52 while winning the MVP award. Adam Dunn then joined them with 51 between Double-A, Triple-A, and the Major Leagues in 2001. While what Foster did was entirely in the Major Leagues and thus makes it more impressive than Dunn, Sauer, or Aquino’s accomplishments, it’s still a fun story to have. There’s a chance that Aristides Aquino could finish this season with more home runs in a season than any other Red in history.