Howdy again, internets. Or is that Internetz? Either way, since we last met, literally nothing has happened in Tiger world. That's wonderful, because I really don't want a groundbreaking trade to shake up my list. Or maybe, I do. Good talk, guys. Good talk.
25. Steven Fuentes: 5'11", 180 lbs., SS
Fuentes signed for $210,000 in July of 2011, and played in the Venezuelan Summer League before coming stateside in 2013. While I give the Tigers a hard time for not having a very talented system, they've gotten pretty shrewd at identifying Venezuelan talent that they don't pay a hefty price for. It's hard to get a good grip on the Tigers' infield situation in the very low minors, but if I had to guess, I'd peg Fuentes for extended spring, and Connecticut. He's very abstract right now, as he's still quite young and far away, but Fuentes has the tools to be an every day player. The next 18 months should tell us a bunch about whether or not they'll materialize.
Projected 2014 Team: Connecticut
No video of Fuentes is available at this time.
You might ask: what kind of info can I glean from a heat map and batted ball distribution of an 18 year old in the Gulf Coast League, where the info is probably only 75% accurate? My answer: pretty much nothing. You're welcome. Just trying to stay consistent here.
I'll start by saying that Fuentes is a bit abstract to me. That's okay, though; as he recently played his 18 year old season in the Gulf Coast League. The GCL is pretty interesting. It's basically a mix of old foreign guys, high school kids, and younger Dominican and Venezuelan prospects. It's a league where guys are either super raw and have talent, or are organizational fodder that will never see full season ball. Fuentes is definitely the former, and he's certainly a guy to pay attention to going forward.
Fuentes is a nicely built middle infielder with loud tools. He's at shortstop for now, and I can't say for sure whether or not he'll stick there. There's a possibility that he has to move to third base in the future. He absolutely has enough arm strength to do so. The arm is certainly plus, and might be his best tool. He can run, and shows off athleticism on a regular basis. His game is not as polished as Javier Betancourt, one of his GCL teammates, and he still has a ways to go in order to become a 'baseball player' instead of an athlete on the diamond.
At the plate, Fuentes switch hits, and shows a bit of pop from both sides. According to someone I talked to that has scouted Fuentes, he sometimes struggles with his approach, and goes through bouts where he doesn't make much contact. I'm not too worried about that at this point, as I've said, he's quite young, and the tools certainly shine through in his game.
At this point, Fuentes is on the list because he could end up as a regular on the left side of the infield. The Tigers don't boast many guys like that right now, and in a deeper system, he'd probably be back near the 40 range. For now, keep an eye on Fuentes in the upcoming season, and I'm hoping to lay eyes on him at some point in late 2014, or the entire 2015 season at West Michigan.