The Kansas City Royals have extended one of their first basemen. Naturally, that statement would invoke images of a long term extension for Eric Hosmer, with the Royals Gold Glove first baseman locked up for the rest of the decade at minimum. That, however, would not be the case. Instead, the Royals have come to an agreement with Balbino Fuenmayor for a contract for next season.
It may seem strange to essentially extend a minor league first baseman, but Fuenmayor has been quite the revelation since signing with the Royals. Formerly a top prospect with the Blue Jays, Fuenmayor was released during the 2013 season and spent the next year and a half playing in the independent leagues. After punishing the opposition in the Venezuelan Winter League to the tune of a .315/.353/.587 batting line with ten home runs, Fuenmayor was signed as a minor league free agent.
That impressive display has continued this season. In his 308 plate appearances with the Naturals, Fuenmayor produced an impressive .354/.386/.591 batting line, belting 15 home runs and 22 doubles. It was quite the start to his career in the Royals system.
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Promoted to the Omaha Storm Chasers, Balbino Fuenmayor has continued to force the Kansas City Royals to take notice of his exploits with the bat. In his first six games at AAA, Fuenmayor has produced a .423/.407/.846 batting line with two home runs and five doubles. In a week, Fuenmayor has had what would be considered a solid month for quite a few players.
While it is highly unlikely that Fuenmayor can continue to produce at this rate, he has certainly attracted attention. Should this torrid 2015 season continue, where Fuenmayor is easily the class of the Royals farm system statistically, it may not be a surprise to see him added to the 40 man roster for a September callup. It would be quite the year, given that Fuenmayor was playing in the Independent Leagues at that point in 2014.
The Kansas City Royals have essentially extended a minor league first baseman. Yet, given the way that Balbino Fuenmayor has produced thus far in 2015, such a move definitely makes sense.