MadFriars' Interview: Reymond Fuentes

LAKE ELSINORE: CF Reymond Fuentes, 20, was drafted in the first round by the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 draft. In 2010, he along with RHP Casey Kelly and 1b Anthony Rizzo, was traded to the San Diego Padres for 1b Adrian Gonzalez.

Fuentes best tools are his speed and defensive ability in center. Many scouts believe he will eventually hit for more power but for right now the organization is focussed on getting the slender Fuentes (6', 170 lbs.) to get on base more and possibly become the leadoff man the organization has always sought.

This year for the Storm Fuentes is hitting .278/.348/.354 with 35 stolen bases in 46 attempts.

You came over in one of the biggest trades of the off-season, the Adrian Gonzalez deal. What has been the biggest change in coming over to the Padres?

Reymond Fuentes: There has been a lot of changes in philosophies between the two organizations.

What are the differences?

Reymond Fuentes: I kind of forgot.I memorized this one and forgot that one.

Well what do they want to make you do over here?

Reymond Fuentes: Mainly keep the ball on the ground and out of the air. Slap the ball, get on base anyway I can and steal bases.

The biggest thing people always talk about with you is your speed. What have you been doing to improve upon what you are already doing well?

Reymond Fuentes: Just try to find what movement or tendencies a pitcher has. Sometimes I peek into a catcher's signs to see if I can pick up anything.

Do you try to hit for a little more power so you can drive your on-base percentage up or if you do that do you screw up what you are trying to do?

Reymond Fuentes: I recognize my role on the team. I'm not here to hit home runs or drive in runs. I'm here to get on base and let the big guys do what they do best.

Defensively how have you improved? Last year in the South Atlantic League you were ranked as the league's best defensive outfielder.

Reymond Fuentes: Just have confidence in what I do. One of my tools is my legs which gives me a lot of range. Just try to make good reads and get good jumps.

It seems most guys like you really rely upon their athleticism to get the job done.

Reymond Fuentes: [laughing] Yeah, that is kind of how it is.

Being from Puerto Rico the high school baseball is different?

Reymond Fuentes: We don't have high school teams but have leagues that are separate from the school. There is an Academy where the go to school in the morning and practice in the afternoon.

I came out of a public school where we only had track and volleyball teams.

Why don't they have any baseball teams?

Reymond Fuentes: No idea.

You were a first round draft pick so you must have caught someone's attention?

Reymond Fuentes: I was playing American Legion when scouts began coming around. Some scouts told me that they liked the way that I played and wanted me to go to some showcases and tryouts; so that got me pretty excited.

Before that I was just playing leagues because I liked it and trying to prepare myself to become a professional baseball player.

You seem pretty relaxed and confident about your abilities.

Reymond Fuentes: Yeah you can't think about who is watching you or you will build up to much pressure on yourself and try to do to much. Then you are doing everything the opposite of the way you want to.

Your cousin is Carlos Beltran. Were you guys close when you were growing up?

Reymond Fuentes: Yeah every off-season we used to train together. He gave me some advice about the game and how to play it. I can't wait to see him again this off-season.

Do you guys focus on the mental or physical approach to the game?

Reymond Fuentes: I think really both are equally as important. He said to me that don't worry about the result but worry about not giving one hundred percent; and I really take that to heart.

We hit a lot, play catch, do outfield drills and other than that just have a lot of fun.

You are six feet, 170 lbs. Are you trying to put on any weight or are you worried that could take away from your speed game?

Reymond Fuentes: Its been hard trying to gain weight because of the season. In the off-season I go to they gym every day trying to get stronger not bigger.

Coming into the season you had some attention coming into the season with Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo. What were your biggest goals coming into the season?

Reymond Fuentes: I wanted to show the Padres that they made a good decision in bringing me over. Baseball is baseball wherever you go and I just want to have fun with it.

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