First baseman Balbino Fuenmayor at the plate during spring training 2015 (Jen Nevius).
The Kansas City Royals had quite an impressive run with signing minor league free agents this past offseason. Jose Martinez and Derek Gordon were certainly impressive, but neither was able to achieve the cult following held by Balbino Fuenmayor.
Fuenmayor had once been a highly regarded prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system, but struck out in over a third of his at bats and struggled to get on base. Released in 2013, Fuenmayor bounced around the independent leagues before signing with the Royals on a minor league contract.
While Fuenmayor showed improvement in the Canadian-American Association, Fuenmayor completely transformed his game with the Royals. Splitting the season between the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and the Omaha Storm Chasers, Fuenmayor produced a .358/.384/.589 batting line with 17 home runs and 28 doubles before his season ended due to a torn ACL suffered on July 24th. However, he will remain in the Royals system, as he had agreed to a return for the 2016 season.
Hopefully, Balbino Fuenmayor will be able recapture his form next season. If so, he may be making his debut with the Kansas City Royals at some point during the year.
Next: His stock truly plummeted last year