Aristides Aquino was designated for assignment at the end of April. The slugger had endured a slump of immeasurable proportions, and without any minor league options remaining, the Cincinnati Reds were forced to expose Aquino to waivers.
Unsurprisingly to many, Aquino was not picked up by any other team and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville. The Punisher spent a couple of weeks with the Louisville Bats and was recalled to the big leagues as a replacement player when the Reds began a three-game series in Toronto.
Several Reds found themselves on the restricted list, unable to travel to Canada, and Aquino was the beneficiary. The Punisher played well at Triple-A and was key to Cincinnati's lone victory in the Great White North, so he remained with the team once they returned home to the United States.
Aristides Aquino leads MLB in defensive runs saved.
Aristides Aquino is a polarizing player. Some fans love him and others can't wait to see him DFA'd again. While his hitting still isn't anywhere near what the fanbase saw in August of 2019, there's no denying that Aquino has a cannon for an arm.
Believe it or not, despite playing in just 24 games this season, Aquino leads all of Major League Baseball with 10 defensive runs saved (DRS). Jorge Mateo of the Baltimore Orioles, Trevor Larnach of the Minnesota Twins, and Ke'Bryan Hayes of the Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for second with 9 DRS.
Defensive runs saved, calculated by The Fielding Bible, does exactly what it sounds like. The stat calculates how many runs a particular player saves from scoring. If a player has a negative DRS, then obviously their poor defense allowed run(s) to score. For a more in-depth look into DRS, check out The Fielding Bible's FAQ page by clicking here.
Now, when it come to outs above average (OAA), another popular metric to measure defensive performance, Aristides Aquino isn't even among the best on his team. The Punisher has 1 OAA, which trails fellow outfielder Nick Senzel who leads the way for the Reds with 3 OAA according to Baseball Savant.
The bottom line is, while Aristides Aquino may be struggling at the plate, he's been dominant in the field. Will that be enough to keep Aquino on the roster for the rest of the 2022 season? That's a tougher question to answer, and if he can turn things around at the dish, the question will suddenly become meaningless.