Welcome to the 2021 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2021. 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. 24, Joshua Fuentes: 0.4 rWAR
After a breakout campaign in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Joshua Fuentes had a roller coaster 2021. He played 95 games for the Rockies, slashing .225/.257/.351 with 11 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 33 RBI, 12 walks (4.2%), and 65 strikeouts (22.9%).
Fuentes started off cold, slashing just .195/.192/.286 in April. He had a hot May (.292/.363/.514) that included NL Player of the Week honors on May 16, but that was his best month.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 17, 2021
Fuentes was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque in late July and then rode the I-25 trolley for the rest of the season. He slashed .269/.324/.492 with 12 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 32 RBI, 11 walks (5.2%) and 43 strikeouts (22.3%) in 49 games with the ‘Topes. Unfortunately for Fuentes, he was outrighted off the 40-man roster on Thursday. While it’s no guarantee of anything, it appears that his tenure with the Rockies could be over.
Fuentes was an undrafted free agent that signed with the Rockies in 2014. After some decent showings in the lower minors, Fuentes had a breakout season in 2018 that included a Triple-A All-Star Game Top Star award, Post-Season All-Star nod, Rookie of the Year award, PCL Most Valuable Player award, and Rockies MiLB.com Organizational All-Star nod. He made his MLB debut on April 6, 2019 and struggled during the season, but appeared to finally figure it out towards the end. Then, in 2020, he supplanted Daniel Murphy as the starting first baseman.
Fuentes has a great glove but is inconsistent with the bat, and that seems to have finally cost him with the influx of young players like Colton Welker, Ryan Vilade and Brendan Rodgers. He’s the odd man out now, and officially on the outside looking in on the 40-man. Who knows what the future holds for Joshua Fuentes, but it’s not looking promising in the Mile High City.
Maybe he can reunite with his cousin in St. Louis...