There were several starting pitchers who put together strong seasons in the Cincinnati Reds farm system in 2023. At the end of the day, though, none of them matched up in my eyes with what Julian Aguiar did in his time between Dayton and Chattanooga.
The Reds sent the right-handed pitcher to join the rotation with the High-A Dayton Dragons to begin the season. His first outing of the year saw him strike out nine batters in 5.0 innings while walking just one hitter and not giving up any earned runs. His next three starts were solid, but not outstanding as he allowed six runs in 12.1 innings pitched.
When May began he went on a big run with the Dragons. Over his next 10 starts he allowed just nine earned runs in 53.0 innings. During that span he gave up just 31 hits, allowed just one home run, held batters to a .165 average, walked 17, and he picked up 54 strikeouts. That took him through the middle of July and earned him a promotion up to Double-A Chattanooga.
His first start on July 15th went well as he didn’t allow an earned run in 5.0 innings and struck out five batters. The next three starts were a bit of a hiccup in his season as he allowed 12 earned runs in 12.1 innings while he walked eight batters. Things rebounded from there as he rounded out his season with seven more starts and a 3.38 ERA for the Lookouts.
In total, Julian Aguiar made 25 starts and threw 125.0 innings with a 2.95 ERA on the season between Dayton and Chattanooga. He led the farm system in innings and ERA. He had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among pitchers with at least 80.0 innings pitched with 37 walks to go along with 138 strikeouts. Aguiar held opposing batters to a .216/.282/.326 line on the season and gave up just eight home runs. In four of the five months of the season he held batters to a .211 or lower batting average and in all five months they never topped a .676 OPS against him.