Christopher Louis Aguila (born February 23, 1979 in Redwood City, California) is a Major League Baseball player in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, who has played parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Florida Marlins. He plays all three outfield positions.
Minor league career (1997-2003)
Aguila was chosen by the Marlins in the third round of the 1997 MLB draft out of McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada; he had set a single-season home run record while at McQueen. Although he was initially a highly-regarded prospect, he spent two seasons playing rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League and 2 1/2 more seasons in Class A before he was promoted to the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs. When he started playing for Portland in 2001, he was in his fifth professional season but was still only 22 years old. He batted .257 in 64 games with Portland. He returned to the Sea Dogs in 2002 and posted a .294 average. The Marlins switched their Class AA affiliation to the Carolina Mudcats the following year, and Aguila spent 2003 with the Mudcats, posting a .320 batting average in 93 games. It was then that Aguila once again showed his potential as a hitter, and the Marlins would invite him to their spring training in 2004.
Florida Marlins and Albuquerque Isotopes (2004-2006)
Although Aguila did not make the Marlins' opening day roster in 2004, he impressed Marlins manager Jack McKeon, and he batted .312 for Class AAA Albuquerque. He had two stints in the majors in 2004, paving the way for him to make the Marlins' opening day roster in 2005.
In 2005, Aguila was named the Marlins' fifth outfielder (behind Miguel Cabrera, Juan Pierre, Juan Encarnación, and Jeff Conine) but was used mainly in a pinch-hitting role. He logged only 16 at-bats in the first two months of the season, and he was sent back to Albuquerque on May 27. While in Albuquerque, he regained his everyday role as the team's center fielder. He batted .351 with 7 home runs and 25 RBI in 35 games with Albuquerque, and he was promoted back to the major leagues on July 7, when the Marlins placed Josh Willingham on the disabled list. He spent the rest of the season in the major leagues, mainly as a pinch hitter; he started only 12 games all year, most of them while Encarnación was injured. He finished the 2005 season with a .244 batting average, no home runs, and 4 RBI in 78 at-bats. Following the 2005 season, he played for Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League<ref name="marlinswinterball">Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins active in winter ball. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.</ref>.
Several signs pointed to Aguila's receiving more playing time in 2006. Toward the end of the season, fellow then-Marlin A.J. Burnett ripped Marlins manager Jack McKeon for several reasons, one of which was that McKeon gave most of the available playing time to aging veterans, rather than to younger players such as Aguila, Willingham, and Jeremy Hermida, who had proven themselves already in the minor leagues but had not received extended playing time in the majors. Also, Encarnación became a free agent following the 2005 season, and Juan Pierre was traded to the Chicago Cubs, so Aguila may compete for a starting job in the Marlins' outfield in 2006. In addition, McKeon retired after the last game of the 2005 season, and the Marlins named 41-year-old Joe Girardi as his replacement.
Aguila made the Marlins' opening-day roster again in 2006. While Hermida was sidelined, Aguila got most of the at-bats in right field until the Marlins signed Joe Borchard; afterwards, Aguila was part of a platoon in center field with Eric Reed and Reggie Abercrombie. (Although Willingham occasionally started at catcher, he started most of the Marlins' games in left field.) Reed struggled mightily, going 4-for-35 (.114) at the plate, and was sent down to Albuquerque. Meanwhile, Abercrombie went on an 11-game hitting streak, which further decreased the amount of playing time Aguila was receiving; Aguila started in only three of the club's next 16 games after May 3. On May 26, the Marlins acquired Cody Ross from the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later; to free a roster spot for Ross, they optioned Aguila to Albuquerque. During his time with the Marlins up to that point, he had batted .229 (19-for-83) with two stolen bases, seven doubles, a triple, no home runs, and seven RBI. In 13 games with Albuquerque, he batted .383 (18-for-47) with one home run (a grand slam) and drove in 13 runs, before he was recalled by the Marlins to replace Willingham, who had gone on the disabled list. After a second stint with the Marlins, he returned to Albuquerque for the rest of the Isotopes' season, where he finished the year there with a .318 batting average, 11 home runs, and 59 RBI in 77 games. After the Isotopes' season ended, the Marlins placed him back on their major-league roster. He appeared in eight games with the Marlins in September, batting 3-for-9 to raise his batting average for the year to .232.<ref name="gamelog">Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Chris Aguila: Game by Game Log. Retrieved on December 13, 2006. </ref> He did not start any more games for the Marlins in 2006 after returning to the majors, but he did hit 2-for-3 with a single and a double in their season-ending win against the Philadelphia Phillies. <ref name="marlinsphillies">Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins walk off with win. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.</ref>
Pittsburgh Pirates (2006-present)
On October 13, 2006, the Marlins outrighted Aguila to Albuquerque, which removed him from their 40-man roster. Since he was out of options on his contract, he needed to make the Marlins' opening day roster in 2007 in order to remain in their organization for a 10th season.<ref name="marlinspartways">Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins part ways with Aguila. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.</ref> Instead of remaining with the Marlins, he signed a minor-league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 10, 2006, with an invitation to spring training.<ref name="sunsentinel">South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Berardino: Ripken takes the fifth on Big Mac: Ex-Orioles star senses steroids issue will mar Hall selections. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.</ref> He joined the Pirates in spring training as a non-roster invitee but did not make the team out of camp; he is now with their Class AAA club, the Indianapolis Indians. <ref name="indianapolis">Minor League Baseball. Indianapolis Indians roster. Retrieved on March 24, 2007.</ref>
- ^ Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins active in winter ball. Retrieved on 2006 December 13.
- ^ Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Chris Aguila: Game by Game Log. Retrieved on 2006 December 13.
- ^ Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins walk off with win. Retrieved on 2006 December 13.
- ^ Florida Marlins: The Official Site. Marlins part ways with Aguila. Retrieved on 2006 December 13.
- ^ South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Berardino: Ripken takes the fifth on Big Mac: Ex-Orioles star senses steroids issue will mar Hall selections. Retrieved on 2006 December 13.
- ^ Minor League Baseball. Indianapolis Indians roster. Retrieved on 2007 March 24.
- Aguila comes from a widely varied ethnic background. His father is Filipino, and his mother is Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian. As of 2006, Aguila and Tony Solaita are the only known ethnic Samoans who has played in Major League Baseball.
- Aguila has been doing Polynesian fire knife dancing since he was in the fifth grade.
- MLB.com profile
- ESPN.com player card
- Yahoo! Sports profile
- The Baseball Cube - major- and minor-league statistics