Despite being one of the Cleveland Indians prospects to get time on the Major League roster in 2015, Jesus Aguilar did not do much to prove he belongs there for the long-term. Similar to his Major League debut last year, he was not able to gain much traction or show off the plus power that could lead him to a real Major League chance if he should ever get one.
Jesus Aguilar’s first action in 2015 came late-July when the Indians were preparing to face three straight left-handed pitchers, Nick Swisher was on the disabled list, and everyday first baseman Carlos Santana was struggling. Aguilar played in those three straight games and tallied two hits and struck out five times in his ten at-bats. That tiny sample size is useless on its own, but it is a microcosm of the problems Aguilar could face on his way to the majors. Granted, he should be better against lefties (his best chance is a platoon bat), but not a lot of hits and a lot of strikeouts is what Aguilar’s future looks like if he is left out to bat against both righties and lefties in his career.
He does sport a solid glove at first base, which he showed in the Majors, but not enough to make him a defense-first type of prospect.
Down in Triple-A playing for the Columbus Clippers, Aguilar’s power was still there, as he hit 19 home runs and held a .439 slugging percentage, but it was overall one of the worst offensive seasons of his minor league career, statistically. His 121 wRC+ was second lowest to only his 2013 season in Double-A. His 8.2% walk rate was the lowest of his career past Single-A. He did get his strikeout percentage down to one of the best of his career, which is encouraging.
I sound down on Aguilar, but if he could get some consistent time as a platoon bat on the big league team, I certainly would not mind him on the roster, but it’s hard to justify keeping an extra first baseman around just to platoon. At best, he will likely keep being a player that gets called up when an injury occurs or the team is expecting to go up against several southpaws in a row, in order to maximize his effectiveness. It’s just up to Aguilar to prove that he can perform when called upon.
FanGraphs had Aguilar ranked as the Indians #17 prospect coming into 2015, citing his platoon ability and power potential as the driving factor behind him cracking the Top 20. With all the pitching and other high prospects brought on this, I expect his stock to fall heading into next year, even with his toe having been dipped into the Major League pool twice now.