The fact that Fuentes, a non-drafted free agent who signed with the Rockies in June 2014, made it to the big leagues in 2019 means he’s already exceeded expectations. After three straight outstanding seasons in the Minors, including being named the Pacific Coast League MVP in 2018 and getting added to Colorado's 40-man roster after a strong Arizona Fall League performance, his 2019 season didn’t go as planned, starting with a broken left hamate suffered at the start of Spring Training.
Nolan Arenado’s cousin tried to do too much following the injury, getting away from what had worked for him previously. While he’s never been one to draw walks, he’d shown a knack for making hard contact, and a leg kick helped him add leverage and more power. He had previously managed his strikeout rate well, but that spiked in 2019.
Fuentes has solid defensive actions at third and more than enough arm to stick at the hot corner, though Cousin Nolan’s in the way there. He’s been playing more first base of late -- that’s where he got the bulk of his big league time last year -- with some versatility giving his bat a better a chance of finding its way onto a big league roster.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 30 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
At the start of his professional career, Fuentes was undoubtedly known more for being Nolan Arrenado's cousin than anything else. But after the non-drafted free agent hit over .300 three years in a row, including his .327 average en route to winning the Triple-A Pacific Coast League MVP award, he's created a name for himself. When he kept on hitting in the Arizona Fall League last fall, the Rockies added him to the 40-man roster.
Fuentes' offensive transformation began three years ago, in 2016, when he had to go back and repeat the South Atlantic League after a pedestrian 2015 season there. He made some adjustments and hasn't stopped doing so since, showing an innate ability to make hard contact. He's mixed in a leg kick that helps him stay back, allowing him to add more leverage and power. While he doesn't walk much, he also keeps his strikeouts low.
A very natural and easy defender, Fuentes is like his cousin with his terrific instincts at the hot corner. After playing a lot of first base early in his career, he started mixing it back in during the 2018 season, with the versatility giving his bat a better chance to break into the big leagues.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
When the Rockies signed Fuentes for $10,000 as a nondrafted free agent out of Missouri Baptist in 2014, it might have been perceived as a favor to his cousin, Nolan Arenado. But he has proven himself to be a legitimate prospect, breaking out in Double-A in 2017 and winning Triple-A Pacific Coast Leage MVP honors this season. He followed up with a solid performance in the Arizona Fall League, forcing Colorado to protect him on its 40-man roster rather than risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.
Fuentes' strength is his ability to make repeated hard contact, which helped him make a run at league batting titles in each of the last two years and top the PCL in runs (93), hits (180), doubles (39), extra-base hits (65) and total bases (285). Most of his power currently comes in the form of doubles but he might develop into a 20-homer threat if he added some loft to his right-handed stroke. He doesn't strike out much, yet he puts the bat on the ball so easily that he rarely draws walks.
Fuentes lacks quickness but has a strong arm and covers enough ground to serve as an average defender at third base. He has soft hands that also work well at first base, where he has seen action throughout his pro career. Though it remains to be seen if and where he'll break into the Rockies' crowded infield, he doesn't have much left to accomplish in the Minors.