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2020 Marlins Season Preview: Jesús Aguilar

How much can Aguilar assist a Marlins offense that struggled throughout last season?

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Where did he come from? Following the 2019 season, the Tampa Bay Rays placed Jesús Aguilar on waivers. He was claimed by the Marlins on Dec. 2.

2019 Performance

.236 BA I .329 OBP I .385 SLG I 12 HR I 86 wRC+ I 369 PA

With the Brewers in 2019, Aguilar had some struggles. He was one of baseball’s least productive hitters in the month of April and saw his role on the club gradually reduced from regular starting first baseman to pinch-hitter.

The Brewers traded Aguilar to the Rays at the trade deadline. In 34 games for them, he did slightly better for himself, slashing .261 BA/.336 OBP/.424 SLG with four home runs.

So much of Aguilar’s value is tied to being a power hitter, so it was disappointing that he only had 24 XBH compared to 60 in 2018 (when he was an NL All-Star).

Aguilar made contact more frequently than he had the previous two campaigns. However, across the board, there was a drop-off in the quality of his batted balls.

Jesús Aguilar Batted Ball Stats, 2017-2019

Year Barrel % Sweet Spot % Hard Hit %
Year Barrel % Sweet Spot % Hard Hit %
2017 11.2 39.9 42.6
2018 11.4 38.2 42.6
2019 7.5 33.8 37.7
Baseball Savant

Off The Field

Aguilar does not post photos on Instagram too much, but when he does it usually has something to do with baseball.

Jesús Aguilar is married to Susan Aguilar. Aguilar also has a son.

Bobby Abreu has served as a mentor for Aguilar. The two met in winter ball in 2014 and Abreu has helped Aguilar with both baseball and life ever since.

Follow Jesús Aguilar on Instagram (@jaguilarmke) and Twitter (@JAguilarMKE).

2020 Expectations

It is expected that Aguilar will be the starting first baseman come Opening Day. He will likely hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup as well.

The Marlins think very highly of prospect Lewin Díaz and believe he’s capable of taking over at first in the near future. In the meantime, they hope for Aguilar to return to his 2018 form where he hit .274 with 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. Anything close to that would be a bargain at his $2.575 million salary.

As Chris Towers of CBS Sports details, heavy-set MLB players have a poor track record of durability. Aguilar, who says he’s currently tipping the scales at 270-275 pounds, has been an anomaly—there’s no record of him being placed on the injured list during his career in either the majors or minors. The Marlins had Garrett Cooper, Martin Prado and Neil Walker split time at first base in 2019, all of whom had significant injury absences. Getting some continuity at the position would be a nice change of pace.

Aguilar has a lot of experience and will likely serve as one of the leaders on this Marlins team. He has played in the postseason as well so he can show some of the younger guys what it takes to get there for themselves.

Díaz is already on the 40-man roster, so if he excels during the first half of the season at Triple-A, the Marlins may try to create an opening for him in the majors by trading Aguilar to a contending team.