Aristides Aquino hit his 11th career home run last night. He has played all of 16 games. No one in Major League Baseball history has set such a pace. No human can maintain such a pace. It’ll likely be sooner rather than later that the Cincinnati Reds outfielder cools off. But for now, we can collectively buy in to one of the most exciting things in all of sports.
That being an unproven young player who shows up and starts doing superhuman things. These brief flashes of brilliance allow us to hope against hope that we’re seeing something new. We know full well that Matt Christopher heroes exist only in the pages of young adult books, yet we revel in the idea that one’s suddenly come to life.
More than often it ends the same way. Kevin Maas. Chris Shelton. Shane Spencer. Bob Hamelin. Chris Hoiles. In the best-cases the player is a Yasiel Puig-type: extremely good but not reality-bending.
Aquino may be the most compelling of all these small-sample All-Stars. He has an incredible stance, a great nickname in The Punisher. He’s straight — and forgive the phrase here — out of central casting as the mythical figure who only blasts longballs in a Hollywood script.
It’d be almost inhuman not to be interested in this guy as he performs feats of strength at an unheard of clip. His at-bats are like riding a roller coaster. The part before he swings is the climb. His ferocious cuts are the free fall down.
Perhaps craziest of all is that this production is largely coming out of nowhere. Aquino has had power in the minors, putting up three seasons of 20-plus homers. But in 2017 he hit .216 and was non-tendered before being re-signed. His obscene MLB OPS is almost double what he posted that year.
So, yeah, have fun. Enjoy this wild ride for all it’s worth.