The 2018 season was a breakout year for Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar. It’s just a sign of things to come for the 28 year old slugger.
Aguilar could be characterized as a late bloomer, considering he played very sparingly his first three years in the big leagues with the Indians before the Milwaukee Brewers claimed him in 2017. Since then, his career has taken off.
In 2018, Aguilar started the season on the roster bubble after strong spring performances from Eric Thames and Ji-Man Choi. But the Brewers kept him and, in late April when Eric Thames injured his thumb, Aguilar stepped into the spotlight of the starting first base job.
He thrived in that role, effectively taking over Thames’ job before he had a chance to return. He played so well, he earned what should have been an automatic All-Star selection, but the fans voted him in to send Aguilar to the Midsummer Classic.
The best part is, this is just our first glimpse of what Aguilar can do in a starting role. Now that he’s entering 2019 knowing he has the starting job in hand, he can really settle into his role.
A Bright Future Ahead
Aguilar is under team control for the next four seasons, through 2022. That gives him plenty of time to make an impact with the Milwaukee Brewers through their current championship window. With everything we saw from him in 2018, there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll have a large impact on those teams.
He carried this Brewers team in the first half, knocking 24 home runs in that time. He also hit .298 with a .995 OPS prior to the All-Star Break. His second half showed a little regression, but he suffered from a .283 BAbip over the final two and a half months. In the first half, Aguilar had a .331 BAbip.
That 48 point swing in BAbip took a toll on his numbers, but his first half .331 BAbip isn’t ridiculously high, meaning his results in the first half are more than likely to be legit, and not just a fluke.
As a power hitter who can drive the ball to all fields with power, Aguilar should see a lot more success inside Miller Park. With him in the middle of that lineup, preceded by Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, there should be plenty of RBI opportunities for Aguilar in the coming years. All three are under control through 2022.
The front office loves him because of his high production and cheap cost. The team loves him because of his personality and how he meshes with the rest of the clubhouse. The fans love him for all of the above reasons.
Things are just getting started for Jesus Aguilar. Big things are coming for him in 2019 and what we saw in 2018 was just the beginning for a slugger who’s finally been given the opportunity to show who he can be.
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The Milwaukee Brewers still have one more year with Aguilar at near the league minimum salary. After that, he has three more years of arbitration, where his salary should see a large spike if his numbers continue trending up in 2019. But he’ll be well worth it.