Fuenmayor Looking For Success

At 21 years old, Balbino Fuenmayor is already a veteran in terms of professional baseball. The Venezuelan native had four seasons of baseball in the Toronto organization under his belt before this year and found himself with a .287 average with class A Lansing in early June.

Despite the decent average, a high number of strikeouts – 19 in only 94 at-bats – and a desire to see him get more regular playing time saw the hulking third baseman assigned to short-season Vancouver where he manned the hot corner on opening night.

At six-foot-3 and 235 lbs, Balbino Fuenmayor is the second larges position player on the roster behind shortstop Randy Schwartz. Still, he's making the more permanent move across the diamond this season to the hot corner. After shedding close to 20 pounds in his estimate, Fuenmayor is lean and mean and the coaching staff is taking notice.

"I've seen Balbino a lot," said Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano. "I had him for a couple of years so I've probably seen him more than anyone. I was just making a comment to our people that he looks as good as I've seen him. He's quieted his swing down and he's very confident."

Fuenmayor spent two full seasons at Lansing and started there out of Spring Training again this year before being shipped to Vancouver at the start of short season play. The organization is taking a patient approach with the native of Valenicia Edo Carabobo, which they signed as a teenager in 2006.

The Jays aren't sure what they have in Fuenmayor, but if he shows he can cut down on his strikeout to walk ratio, his bat could see him climb the ladder through the team's minor league system.

"He's probably a little bit further along than other guys because he's played at a higher level," said Pano, who said Fuenmayor will see regular playing time in Vancouver at both third and first.

"He's still in the stages of where we're trying to find that out. He is a doubles, line drive gap guy but I think the jury is still out on whether he's going to be a home run guy. I think in the next three years we'll be able to see."

Fuenmayor, who is still mastering the English language, credits playing winterball in his native Venezuela under former major leaguer Julio Franco for taking his training more seriously. Franco, who played until the age of 49, was a notorious fitness and diet guru, something that did not go unnoticed on Fuenmayor.

"Every day, he would say ‘hey, no junk food after the game, you have to take care of your body ‘," said Fuenmayor, after finishing batting practice at Nat Bailey Stadium prior to the opening pitch of the Canadians' season.

"If you're good to your body, you can play baseball for a long time. It's unbelievable."

Having already played live games for Lansing of the Midwest League rather than in Extended Spring Training, Fuenmayor is already in mid-season form and hoping to continue the prowess at the plate he showed during the first three months of the season.

"Right now, I have a good swing because I'm hitting a lot of line drives, I'm not only pulling the ball. Right now my approach is good."

It's too early to talk about a promotion back to Lansing or higher. For now, Fuenmayor is simply looking forward to the opportunity for consistent playing time. The rest is out of his hands.

"I got 95 at-bats with a good average, but I didn't play every day," Fuenmayor said of his time in Lansing.

"In baseball it's difficult because of injuries and promotions. It's like school, you have to move up each level."

His coach says he just needs to concentrate on what's going on between the lines.

"Right now, all we want Balbino to do is play and have success and that will take care of itself. We're very happy with his progress."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nDespite the decent average, a high number of strikeouts – 19 in only 94 at-bats – and a desire to see him get more regular playing time saw the hulking third baseman assigned to short-season Vancouver where he manned the hot corner on opening night.
\r\n
\r\nAt six-foot-3 and 235 lbs, Balbino Fuenmayor is the second larges position player on the roster behind shortstop Randy Schwartz. Still, he's making the more permanent move across the diamond this season to the hot corner. After shedding close to 20 pounds in his estimate, Fuenmayor is lean and mean and the coaching staff is taking notice.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've seen Balbino a lot,\" said Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano. \"I had him for a couple of years so I've probably seen him more than anyone. I was just making a comment to our people that he looks as good as I've seen him. He's quieted his swing down and he's very confident.\"
\r\n
\r\nFuenmayor spent two full seasons at Lansing and started there out of Spring Training again this year before being shipped to Vancouver at the start of short season play. The organization is taking a patient approach with the native of Valenicia Edo Carabobo, which they signed as a teenager in 2006.
\r\n
\r\nThe Jays aren't sure what they have in Fuenmayor, but if he shows he can cut down on his strikeout to walk ratio, his bat could see him climb the ladder through the team's minor league system.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's probably a little bit further along than other guys because he's played at a higher level,\" said Pano, who said Fuenmayor will see regular playing time in Vancouver at both third and first.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's still in the stages of where we're trying to find that out. He is a doubles, line drive gap guy but I think the jury is still out on whether he's going to be a home run guy. I think in the next three years we'll be able to see.\"
\r\n
\r\nFuenmayor, who is still mastering the English language, credits playing winterball in his native Venezuela under former major leaguer Julio Franco for taking his training more seriously. Franco, who played until the age of 49, was a notorious fitness and diet guru, something that did not go unnoticed on Fuenmayor.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every day, he would say ‘hey, no junk food after the game, you have to take care of your body ‘,\" said Fuenmayor, after finishing batting practice at Nat Bailey Stadium prior to the opening pitch of the Canadians' season.
\r\n
\r\n\"If you're good to your body, you can play baseball for a long time. It's unbelievable.\"
\r\n
\r\nHaving already played live games for Lansing of the Midwest League rather than in Extended Spring Training, Fuenmayor is already in mid-season form and hoping to continue the prowess at the plate he showed during the first three months of the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now, I have a good swing because I'm hitting a lot of line drives, I'm not only pulling the ball. Right now my approach is good.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's too early to talk about a promotion back to Lansing or higher. For now, Fuenmayor is simply looking forward to the opportunity for consistent playing time. The rest is out of his hands.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got 95 at-bats with a good average, but I didn't play every day,\" Fuenmayor said of his time in Lansing.
\r\n
\r\n\"In baseball it's difficult because of injuries and promotions. It's like school, you have to move up each level.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis coach says he just needs to concentrate on what's going on between the lines.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now, all we want Balbino to do is play and have success and that will take care of itself. We're very happy with his progress.\"
\r\n
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