MadFriars' Interview: Reymond Fuentes

SAN ANTONIO -- Reymond Fuentes, 21, was the third player/prospect that came over in the Adrian Gonzalez trade in 2011. Fuentes, who was only 19 at the time was playing in the low-A South Atlantic League where his tools and potential, rather than his actual performance is what excited people in baseball.

The Puerto Rican native, who was a first round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2009, had a decent year in his first season with the Padres hitting .275/.342/.369 for the Lake Elsinore Storm with 41 stolen bases in 55 attempts.

Fuentes most outstanding tool is his speed and he is a plus outfielder in center. Although he is relatively thin, he has put on weight in the past year and does have gap power.

Despite a good start in April, where he hit .298/.366/.429, Fuentes has struggled with Texas League pitching hitting .205 in May and .198 in June.

His biggest problem is he may be taking too many pitches and getting himself into bad counts. When he has been ahead in the count this year he is hitting .356 and when behind is at .125.

We caught up with Reymond just before the Texas League All-Star break in early June.

Last year you were working so much on taking the ball the other way. The past few games that I have been able to watch it seems like that is one skill that is really coming along.

Reymond Fuentes: I've been working a lot with it. The tough part was being able to use it in games. Also I have been really working pretty hard on my bunting which I think is also going pretty well.

Whenever the third baseman is back I'm going to drop one down. The one thing that is difficult is that everyone is starting to know me and that I can run. I see them right on the edge of the grass and its like, ‘Ok, I'm going to have to hit it over him."

The key to bunting and stealing bases is using it when the opportunity is there.

If you are going the opposite way it is really going to make the opposition pay when the third baseman is on the grass.

Reymond Fuentes: Yeah, especially if you can fake bunt and then put it past them. I do think its a good thing if they play in because it gives me a bunch of options. I can shoot it by the hole and if they play back I can lay it down.

Fuentes stole 41 bases for the Storm in 2011.

In a way does that help you? Last year you told me that you have a little bit of power in Lake Elsinore and that you sometimes would get in trouble for trying to do too much. Here that really doesn't enter into the equation.

Reymond Fuentes: I have more speed than power so I know it better for me to hit it on the ground than in the air; but yeah, here it's not that much of an option.

Defensively you have a lot of ground to cover and with these winds that must make for some interesting nights.

Reymond Fuentes: It is a lot of fun here because the ball dies quite a bit here. It gives me a chance to get those doubles and triples in other parks that I can get too here.

For me the bigger the outfield the better. I love it when I can take away a double or a triple from a guy and they give me a hard time about it afterwards.

You sound like most center fielders that I talk too in that you love hitting home runs but you get more of a thrill out of making those catches in the gap and then looking at the hitter's face.

Reymond Fuentes: [laughs] I love it when they look at me and say things like, ‘C'mon can you let that one drop, I'm trying to hit."

And I just laugh and say that is what I do. Playing centerfield here is a lot of fun.

You seem to have put on some weight from last year?

Reymond Fuentes: I did, I did. I put on about ten to fifteen pounds in the off-season with my trainer. We have been working five days a week. We had track days, pool days and weight room days.

Then I would go catch fly balls on the field or hit in the cage. I just tried to work on everything and thought that my off-season routine went really well.

So much of your game is about speed. Were you conscious of how much weight you wanted to put on?

Reymond Fuentes: A little. I want to be around 180 to 190 lbs. because, as you said, that is my game - being able to run.

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