The Royals have agreed to a 2016 deal with minor league first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes (Twitter links). The deal won’t officially be complete until after the season. Fuenmayor is a client of True Gravity Baseball’s Blake Corosky.
The deal is presumably of the minor league variety, but it’s more interesting than the typical minor league pact. The Blue Jays signed Fuenmayor out of Venezuela for a significant bonus in 2006, when he was 16, but they released him in 2013 after he struggled to escape Class A. Last winter, the Royals offered Fuenmayor a minor league deal after he hit brilliantly in the independent Canadian-American Association and in Venezuelan winter ball in 2014.
Fuenmayor has since continued hitting in the upper levels of the Royals’ farm system, batting .354/.386/.591 in 308 plate appearances at Double-A Northwest Arkansas before being promoted to Triple-A Omaha, where he’s hit .427/.408/.846 in his first six games. There are, perhaps, warning signs in his stat line, like a .381 BABIP at Double-A and a low walk rate, but given the hitting ability he’s demonstrated over the past two seasons and the fact that he’s only 25, he likely would have attracted significant interest on the free agent market next winter.