Eric Davis shares assessment of Aristides Aquino, opinions about baseball's pace of play

·4 min read

Cincinnati Reds special assistant for player performance and former star outfielder Eric Davis joined Bally Sports Ohio's John Sadak and Barry Larkin in the broadcast booth during the 4th and 5th innings of the Reds' 11-4 loss Tuesday night to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Reds Hall of Famer Eric Davis claps during the 2021 Reds Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Marty Brennaman on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Reds Hall of Famer Eric Davis claps during the 2021 Reds Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Marty Brennaman on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Larkin declared that he's been trying for some time to get "Boogie" - his former teammate and 1990 World Series hero - in the booth.

Davis shared his thoughts about pace-of-play rules being used in the minors, as well as the pitch clock.

"I don't like (any) of it. I don't like to make somebody do something in the heat of the battle in 12 seconds or 18 seconds. I don't like not being able to throw over - if you throw over to the base two or three times, you can't throw over any more. Because it takes away from the cat and mouse of that prolific base-stealer in the bottom of the 9th. … It's not a time-consuming game - it's a baseball game. … It's not meant to be rushed. Because there's so much precision and so much thinking. And so much to do and to learn and to watch. To have it kind of condensed into a certain amount of time does the game a disservice."

Larkin asked Davis about the "ghost runner" in extra innings in MLB.

"I don't really care for that. I think you've got to earn all of your runs. … You shouldn't just be given anything at the ultimate level. So I don't really like that. … If you can't get on first base, this game is not a given. You have to earn that."

Davis added that he's never been a fan of the designated hitter. "I don't think they move around. I don't think they ever get tired. Everybody's out there sweating. You're in here riding a bicycle."

Davis showed support for the Reds' recent trend of acquiring top shortstop prospects.

"You can always move them to a different position because of their athleticism and the way that they move their feet and run," Davis said. "So if you can gather as many shortstops as you can, you're gonna have some good players."

Davis addressed Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino's struggles at the plate at the big-league level since his 19-homer season of 2019. Aquino has struck out 57 times in 135 plate appearances this season.

"I've watched him a lot," Davis said of Aquino. "I just think No. 1 … he's never been willing to change. He's stuck in what he believes is the proper structure for him. And this game is about adjustments. And whenever you are fearful of change, you're not going to improve. To me, he's too big to be that tall and stiff (in his batting stance). And his hands (don't move). And all he does is become something that he taught me: It's that when you're rotational, you're robotic. And there is no freeness in his hands which is not going to be freeness in his swing. … I would spread him out and put him in his legs and lower his hands … because he's so powerful, he doesn't have to overswing to hit the ball hard. It's just a matter of him … getting his bat and his head closer to the strike zone. If you watch him, the only pitches he really hammers are balls that are up and out over the plate. Because the further your head is away from the strike zone, the further your hands are away from the strike zone. … His head and his hands never get into where you see that square is. He's nowhere near that."

Davis also offered praise of Albert Almora Jr.'s defensive skills, particularly a diving catch Almora made during the top of the 5th inning.

"That was a great play. And that started before the pitch. Because I was watching how he was moving and reading what the pitcher was gonna do. The only way you can make that play is you have to have what Barry calls 'anticipatorial' mindsets on moving and anticipating the play. And you couldn't have written it up better than that for that kid right there. I'm so proud of him."

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Eric Davis says Aristides Aquino 'has never been willing to change'