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Josh Fuentes had a breakout season

Fuentes is the team’s own Rookie of the Year

Welcome to the 2020 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2020. 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. 6, Josh Fuentes: 1.0 rWAR

During this years’ rapid-fire season, Josh Fuentes went from taxi squad member to breakout player for the Rockies, which is, coincidentally, similar to his start in professional baseball. The California native was not originally drafted while playing infield at Missouri Baptist University; however, Nolan Arenado put in a good word to get Fuentes signed with the Rockies as a free agent.

That paid off for the rookie as he spent time in the minor league system from 2014-2019, collecting hardware along the way. In 2018, Fuentes was named Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year in his last full season with the Albuquerque Isotopes before being called up to the big leagues in 2019. Although, fans saw little of his potential in his 24 game appearances compared to this season.

Once the #FreeFuentes hashtag was manifested and became reality after he had been optioned to the Alternate Training Site, Josh came back more than ready and earned regular playing time at first base in lieu of Daniel Murphy. And it was a breath of fresh air to watch Fuentes make stellar plays at first, as well as coming through offensively. In 30 games and 98 at-bats this season, Josh owned a .306 batting average alongside a .470 slugging percentage, while also driving in 17 runs.

The rookie proved he could be a utility player if needed, as he was seen making appearances at both corners of the infield and in the outfield. I believe many fans would be open to seeing Josh take over first base, which doesn’t seem too far-fetched with the news of Daniel Murphy’s mutual option being declined, putting him on the free agent list. But, with the offseason barely in tow, there is still time for trades/signing to throw a loop in any “possible Rockies’ lineups” for 2021. Hopefully, though, Josh Fuentes won’t be one of those loops.