The Hot Seat

Reymond Fuentes (Ownership rates: Yahoo 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%)

It’s quite difficult to comb through the late-season call-ups and find the guys who could actually contribute in fantasy; most of them are called up for bench depth and won’t make much of an impact. Fuentes, however, could give fantasy owners a nice boost.

The 22-year-old was acquired by the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, along with Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly and Eric Patterson. Rizzo is now mashing home runs for the Cubs, Kelly is recovering from Tommy John surgery and Patterson has a hideous .547 OPS in Double-A this season in the Brewers system. That leaves Fuentes as the only player from the Gonzalez deal currently playing for San Diego.

A former first-round draft pick, Fuentes took a serious step backwards in his development last season, posting a .218/.301/.302 line in Double-A. This year, however, has been a completely different story. Fuentes absolutely destroyed Double-A and Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .330/.413/.448 slash line, and he was even better in Triple-A (1.006 OPS) than he was in Double-A (.837 OPS).

Fuentes doesn’t have much power, with just 21 home runs in 2,157 minor-league plate appearances, but he has developed tremendous on-base ability and he’s an excellent baserunner who has stolen at least 35 bases in all four of his full seasons. He could also be a doubles and triples machine if he can find the gaps in spacious Petco Park.

A left-handed hitter, Fuentes will likely be in the lineup only against righties, but he could be a nice fantasy platoon option with his speed and on-base skills. He’s flying so far under the radar right now because he’s barely played since being called up, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see significant playing time. The Padres just happened to face four consecutive left-handers shortly after Fuentes got the call.

Furthermore, he is reportedly an excellent center fielder, which is something the Padres don’t have elsewhere on their roster, with Cameron Maybin potentially done for the year with recurring knee problems. That means he’ll be in the lineup more often than not, despite having spent four straight games on the bench.

If he continues to get on base in the majors at a rate even close to what he did in the minors this year, Fuentes could provide great value down the stretch in NL-only and even deep mixed leagues. Due to his lack of playing time, he’s almost completely unowned right now, so he can probably be had for a zero-dollar FAAB bid.

If you’ve got an expendable roster spot and a need for speed, Fuentes just might be your guy. He may not have that shiny prospect status that he used to, but he has the potential to be a nice post-hype sleeper. Also, as a little fun fact to close it out, he’s apparently Carlos Beltran’s cousin:

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