Jesus Aguilar Looks to Press the Reset Button in 2015


Is the “big bat” Indians fans long for here already?

More from Cleveland Guardians Prospects

When 5’10”, 180-pound

Nyjer Morgan

injured his knee chasing down an

Adam Lind

double in Toronto on May 14, the Cleveland Indians decided to call up an additional five inches and 70 pounds from Columbus to replace him.

Jesus Aguilar

made his big league debut the following evening, promptly going 0-3 with a strikeout and a walk as the designated hitter. He didn’t record his first major league hit until four days later, notching a fifth-inning single off Detroit Tigers starter

Drew Smyly

that also brought home his first run batted in.

Driving in runs is something Aguilar has become quite familiar with throughout his minor league career, and one of the biggest reasons the Indians gave him a look in 2014. He led the Eastern League in 2013 when he brought home an impressive 105 runs for the AA Akron Aeros. This past season he drove in 77 for the Clippers, putting him third in the International League. While not quite impressive as his RBI totals, Aguilar’s 35 home runs and 59 doubles over the past two seasons combined are nothing to turn your nose up at. The 24-year-old has raked in the minor leagues, period.

Unfortunately that success hasn’t yet followed him to Cleveland. He ended the season with just four hits in 33 at-bats, three RBI, four walks and 13 strikeouts. That was good (or bad) for a .121/.211/.121 slash line. His 34.2 K% isn’t even listed in Fangraphs’ explanation of the statistic it’s so bad.  And you literally cannot put up an ISO worse than .000.

May 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Jesus Aguilar (36) hits a sacrifice fly during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

But it wasn’t all bad news for Aguilar in 2014. First of all, the stats I listed above have virtually zero predictive power given how small his major league sample size is. His 33 career at-bats are equal to 0.6% of Nick Swisher’s, 1.4% of Carlos Santana’s and 24.4% of Zach Walters. There aren’t a whole lot of conclusions you can draw from that many opportunities. His line drive (19%), ground ball (47.6%) and fly ball (33.3%) are all right around average. That 34.2 K% will certainly come back down to earth, as that number has been trending in the right direction for basically his entire professional career.

Following the path of players like Carlos Carrasco, Jose Ramirez, Tyler Holt and C.C. Lee, Aguilar seems to be next up on manager Terry Francona’s list of young players he shows (maybe an irrational amount of) confidence in. It is pretty clear he’ll be given every opportunity to prove his power can translate to the major league level. He did get some work at third base in spurts last season but Aguilar seemingly projects to be a first base/DH-type moving forward. It remains to be seen what part of the club the Indians front office will attempt to upgrade this winter, but bringing in a big bat seems to always be at the top of fans’ wish lists. That bat may be right under our noses.