(Redirected from Jesus Aguilar)
Note: This page discusses 2010s and 2020s infielder Jesús Aguilar. For the Mexican national team player of the same name, click here.
Jesús Alexander Aguilar
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 241 lb.
Aguilar was signed by Cleveland Indians scout Jesus Mendoza in 2007. He hit .209/.286/.311 for the DSL Indians, driving in 45 runs in 68 games as their main first baseman. He tied for 6th in the Dominican Summer League in RBI. The next year, he batted .305/.412/.460 with 46 RBI in 55 games, fielding .996. He was 8th in the DSL in RBI. In 2010, he played for the AZL Indians (.259/.293/.482, 7 homers in 29 games) and Mahoning Valley Scrappers (.244/.301/.366 in 32 games). He tied for the Arizona League home run lead. Jesús had his first exposure to full season leagues in 2011 and did not miss a beat. He hit .292/.370/.544 with 19 homers and 69 RBI in 95 games for the Lake County Captains and .257/.323/.389 in 31 games for the 2011 Kinston Indians. He tied Jon Garcia for 7th in the Midwest League in home runs, was 3rd in slugging (behind Brian Fletcher and Josh Whitaker) and was second in OPS (42 points shy of Whitaker). He was named MWL All-Star first baseman, joining Hernán Pérez, Billy Hamilton and Nick Castellanos on the infield. Among Indians farmhands, he finished the year tied for third in doubles (30, even with Tyler Cannon and Chad Huffman), second in homers (23, one behind Jerad Head) and led in both RBI (82, 7 over Luis Valbuena) and total bases (234, 12 over Head). Baseball America named him the best power hitter in the Indians chain and their 25th best prospect. He made his Venezuelan Winter League debut with the Leones del Caracas, producing at a .275/.358/.478 clip in 81 plate appearances in 2011-2012.
Aguilar fielded .996 in the summer of 2012, split between the Carolina Mudcats (.277/.366/.454 in 107 games) and Akron Aeros (.292/.402/.500 in 20 games), with 31 doubles, 15 homers, 75 runs and 71 RBI. He appeared in the 2012 Futures Game, starting at first base and hitting 7th in a 17-5 World loss to the US. He drew a second-inning walk from Gerrit Cole, singled off Dylan Bundy in the 4th, flew out against Jameson Taillon in the sixth and flew out facing Zach Wheeler in the 8th. For the year, he tied Anthony Gallas for third in the Indians chain in doubles, tied Carlos Moncrief for 7th in dingers and was 4th in RBI. Baseball America again ranked him the Indians' top power prospect, while upgrading him to their 9th best prospect overall. He hit .267/.328/.533 for Caracas in the winter. In the summer of 2013, Aguilar produced at a .275/.349/.427 clip for Akron, with 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 105 RBI. He led the Eastern League in RBI, 8 ahead of Caleb Joseph and led first basemen in assists (84) and errors (14). He was the Eastern League All-Star DH; Allan Dykstra was picked at 1B. He led Indians farmhands in RBI, 29 ahead of Erik Gonzalez. He also tied Joey Wendle for third in homers, tied Dorssys Paulino for 6th in doubles and was third in total bases (behind Moncrief and Tyler Naquin). He was 10th in all of the minors in RBI. Baseball America listed him the 15th best Indians prospect. With Caracas in 2013-2014, Aguilar fielded .996 at first and hit a superb .327/.403/.597 with 18 home runs, 49 runs and 50 RBI in 58 games. He was third in the Venezuelan League in runs (behind Jose Pirela and Niuman Romero), second in homers (three shy of Alex Cabrera), 4th in RBI (after Cabrera, Mario Lissón and Hector Gimenez), 3rd in total bases (behind Cabrera and Cory Aldridge), 7th in average (between C.J. Retherford and Leslie Anderson) and third behind Cabrera and Aldridge in both slugging and OPS. He also won the Gold Glove at 1B.
He began 2014 with the Columbus Clippers and was batting .298/.395/.519 with 7 homers and 20 walks after 37 games. He was called up to The Show when Nyjer Morgan went on the DL. In his debut, he hit 6th and played DH in a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays. He drew a walk from J.A. Happ, then was retired twice by Happ. Lonnie Chisenhall batted for him in the 8th. He was up and down with the Tribe the next three years. Even after leading the International League in home runs (30) and RBI (92) in 2016, Aguilar was designated for assignment in January 2017 and claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. Following a strong spring training, he made the team and finally connected for his first big league home run (in his 100th career at bat). It came in a key situation on May 4, 2017 against Matt Bowman of the St. Louis Cardinals, breaking a 4-4 tie in the 7th inning to propel Milwaukee to a 5-4 win. Overall, in 133 games, he batted .265 with 16 homers and 52 RBI.
On June 22, 2018, he had a mighty game against the Cardinals, as he hit a pair of dramatic home runs to account for all of Milwaukee's runs in a 2-1 win. The first, in the 7th, broke up a no-hit bid by Jack Flaherty and tied the score, and the second was a walk-off shot off Bud Norris with one out in the 9th. The game was typical of a tremendous first half to his season that saw him emerge as one of the premier sluggers in the National League, taking over for Eric Thames as the Brewers' primary first baseman. He won the Final Man Vote to be named to the All-Star team and was also selected to take part in the Home Run Derby before the game. He finished the year at .274 in 149 games, with 35 homers and 108 RBI as the Brewers won a division title and had the best record in the National League after winning a one-game playoff against the Chicago Cubs. In the postseason, he went 1 for 11 in Milwaukee's win over the Colorado Rockies in the Division Series, his lone hit being a solo homer in a 6-0 win in Game 3. In the League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was more consistent, going 7 for 26 (.269) with 3 doubles and a homer, scoring and driving in 4 runs, but Milwaukee was eliminated in seven games.
After his breakout season, a lot was expected of Aguilar in 2019, but he failed to deliver. He hit just .225 with 8 homers and 34 RBI in 94 games for Milwaukee and gradually lost his starting job to Thames, the man he had displaced the year before. On July 31st, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Jake Faria, and while he hit .261 with 4 homers and 16 RBI in 37 games, he was left off the postseason roster. He was DFAed in November and on December 2nd was claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins. He found a regular home with the Marlins starting in 2020 when he batted .277 in 51 games during the pandemic-shortened season, belting 8 homers and driving in 34 runs for an OPS+ of 117. He was one of the offensive leaders of a team that surprised everyone by making it into the expanded 2020 Postseason, and then upsetting the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card Series. He went 2 for 8 with a double and a homer in that round, then the Cinderella story ended against the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series as he went 2-for-13 in the three-game sweep.
In 2021 he had another good season as the Marlins regressed to a more normal level, batting .261 with 22 homers and 93 RBIs in 131 games, resulting in another solid OPS+, this one of 111. His numbers were down in the first half of 2022, largely due to a fall in his walk rate (his OBP was only .293 after 71 games), although he was stil hitting doubles and homers at a good rate. On July 5th, he ended a drought of 700 games without a stolen base when he victimized the battery of Noah Syndergaard and Max Stassi of the Los Angeles Angels for his first career stolen base. His 2,331 plate appearances without a steal were the most among active major leaguers, ahead of Omar Narvaez.
- NL All-Star (2018)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2021)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2018)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (2018)
- Christina De Nicola: "After more than 2,000 PAs, 'Agui Hamilton' finally swipes a bag!", mlb.com, July 6, 2022.