2. A close second is Balbino Fuenmayor who was making a shambles of AAA before he tore his ACL while making an unassisted double play in late July and has missed the rest of the season. His operation was a success and while he couldn’t be signed under baseball rules during this season, the rumors were that Royals assured him that he could come to Surprise next year.
The Balbino, as he is called (no, he doesn’t call his home runs), does have more pop than Martinez. He finished AA and then AAA in 2015 in 360 at bats (being injured in late July) with an average of .358. with 17 home runs and 66 rbis. His slugging is .589 and OBP is .972. He is 25 (shortly to be 26), but other downsides are that he plays first (with Hoz firmly entrenched there) and he is not fast.
The KC Royals front office’s unusual move of making a verbal commitment with him for a 2016 contract shows they see some future for Fuenmayor in the Kansas City system. With designated hitter Kendrys Morales hitting free-agency in 2017 and first baseman Eric Hosmer in 2018, the Balbino could be a cheap replacement if the former Pioneer League (Independent) player turns into a true late-bloomer.
Such a development would be sweet revenge on the Toronto Blue Jays, who gave up on Fuenmayor after the 2013 season. KC Royals fans might recall that it was Toronto that ended up with former Royal Jose Bautista when he turned into a 54-homer monster in 2010.
Let’s hope we can get a little karmic payback.
Next: Brett Eibner and Rey Fuentes