The Great Balbino just keeps on hitting
By Devon Teeple
Former Toronto Blue Jays prospect, Balbino Fuenmayor can hit baseballs regardless of what uniform he’s wearing.
After he hit .347/.383/.610 with 23 home runs and 99 RBIs for the CanAm League’s Quebec Capitales in 2014, he was named Baseball America’s Independent Player of the Year. His 131 hits was fifth most in league history and his value has since skyrocketed.
In his first seven years in the Blue Jays system, he never made it above Single-A. Since breaking out in the Indy’s, he signed with the Kansas City Royals and peaked at Triple-A. In his two years with them he never hit below .291 and the power stroke he discovered with the Capitales has become something of a regular occurrence.
In 2015, The Great Balbino as he’s affectionately known to his fans, split time between Double-A, Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. He batted .358 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 89 games. His splits were as impressive as anyone’s; .358/.384/.589. During an entire season in Omaha in 2016, there was some regression as his power numbers took a bit of a hit (six home runs), but he still batted .291 and drove in 42.
Primarily a first baseman who previously spent time at third, he basically had no clear options with Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer manning the corners in Kansas City. Fuenmayor was released by the Royals this past November, but was signed by the Atlanta Braves that same month. At the time of his signing, he was crushing baseballs in the Venezuelan Winter League with Caribes de Anzoategui. He took part in the league’s Home Run Derby where he went deep 19 times in the second and third round.
So far, spring training with the Braves hasn’t been to bad as he’s hitting .263 with one big fly and two RBIs. Again, it’s unlikely Fuenmayor gets past Freddie Freeman at first anytime soon, but with the rebuild the Braves are in, there’s no doubt that if he keeps hitting at the clip he usually does, they have to bring him up at some point and see how he does against MLB pitching.
Devon Teeple is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM’s Perspective. He is a former pro baseball player with the River City Rascals and Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, he is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM’s Perspective on twitter and Facebook.