Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino had a tremendous start to his MLB career last season. But, should you put him on your fantasy shortlist in 2020? Let’s take a look.
Aristides Aquino’s 2019
Aquino made his 2019 debut on August 1, and was a force for the Reds after getting called up. From August 1 (Aquino’s debut) to the end of the season, Aquino was tied for third in MLB in home runs (19) and slugged .576, which was in the top 30 in SLG (among hitters who had 150 or more AB). Aquino was truly a terrifying hitter, especially in his first month in the Majors, as he had a slash line of .320/.391/.767. September, however, was a bit different for Aquino, as he cooled down significantly. Aquino hit just .196 across 102 AB, while only putting up a .619 OPS.
While Aquino certainly had a memorable start to his MLB career, he did have his ups and downs. But the big question heading into 2020 surrounding Aquino is this: Should he be a player to target for your fantasy team? Let’s look at his strengths and weaknesses.
What are his strengths?
There are reasons to believe the hype surrounding Aquino is real. Aquino grew into quite a power hitter in the Minors, hitting 15 or more home runs in each of the past four seasons across three levels, as well as having AO/GO ratios below one in all of those seasons. Aquino also had a massive season last year for Louisville (AAA) prior to his callup, as he hit 42 XBH in just 78 games, and had a whopping .636 SLG, which would have led the International League had he had enough at-bats to qualify. While a switch to the official Major League Baseball balls may have been partly responsible for this power surge, there’s no doubt that his power stroke is definitely real. And his numbers with the Reds late last season were proof of that.
Aquino also has an a built-in advantage that other players may not have: Great American Ballpark. Aquino had a slash line of .284/.337/.674 at home, compared to a .236/.298/.291 line outside of Great American Ballpark. Great American Ballpark is notorious for being a hitter-friendly field, and considering that Aquino will most likely play half his games at home, he has an advantage that not many hitters do.
What are his weaknesses?
However, there are problems inside Aquino’s game. Aquino has been known to be an aggressive hitter, and had problems in the Minors with regards to chasing and striking out. Aquino had a 26.7% K rate (5% over MLB average) last season, and was prone to chasing at bad pitches at times. He’s also been known to be relatively weak when it comes to facing breaking balls, so he’ll most likely be fed more of those next season.
Is he worth taking?
With all of that said, should you target Aquino next season? He’s definitely worth keeping an eye on, thanks in part to his power potential, and the fact that he can be helpful in the stolen base category. Aquino has received strong reviews in the past for his speed, and he did have seven stolen bases over the final two months of the season. Aquino has sneaky 20/20 potential, and may be worth taking in the middle of your draft. However, be warned that he does strike out a bit, meaning that he will most likely finish with an average between .230 and .240. If you can balance that out, he’s worth the add.
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