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Josh Fuentes is still in Nolan Arenado’s shadow

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An injury-marred down year in Triple-A and less-than-stellar MLB stints kept Fuentes from breaking out

Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

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No. 35, Josh Fuentes (-0.2 rWAR)

Josh Fuentes has been working to establish himself as more than just “Nolan Arenado’s cousin” (in case you forgot about that fact). However, he didn’t do much in 2019 to do so. Fuentes made his major league debut in early 2019 to fill in for injured first basemen Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon. After a hamate bone injury sidelined him in Spring Training, it seemed like an early call up for Fuentes.

In his first stint in the majors, he looked a little lost. He hit a single in his first major league at-bat, but only had one hit after that before being sent back to Albuquerque — going just 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts in nine games. While in Albuquerque, he also had a bit of a down year. After winning PCL MVP in 2018 and tearing through the Arizona Fall League, it was expected that Fuentes would fall back to Earth a little bit, but he really fell back down. In 101 games this year for the Isotopes, he slashed .254/.298/.448. Comparatively, in 2018 he slashed .327/.354/.517. He hit a career high in home runs (17), but everything else was down (or up, in the case of his 29.4% strikeout rate). Despite all of that, Fuentes was given a second chance in October when rosters were expanded. He played 15 games during that stretch and hit .270/.289/.541 (up from .111/.111/.111), including three home runs and a double.

Some of the downswing was due to injuries, between the Spring Training hamate injury and an oblique injury that sidelined him for the month of June. His late season call-up showed some promise, but Josh Fuentes didn’t do much to take himself out of the shadow of his famous cousin.