Royals' trio enjoys Futures Game experience

Fuenmayor, Mondesi log hits for World Team at Great American Ball Park

Royals' trio enjoys Futures Game experience

CINCINNATI -- The most interesting prospect for the Royals also happens to have the most fascinating name -- Balbino Fuenmayor, a 25-year-old Venezuelan who a year ago at this time was toiling in the independent Can-Am League in Quebec.

Now Fuenmayor has played for the World Team in a 10-1 loss to the U.S. Team at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game while also rising quickly through the Royals' system. He recently was promoted to Triple-A Omaha after tearing up opponents in Double-A -- .354 average, 15 homers, 51 RBIs.

But it's the name that also has caught everyone's attention.

"My first name is the same as my dad and my grandpa," Fuenmayor said. "I may name my son the same if I have one. I have a daughter now. In Venezuela, no one else has that name. I like it. It's original. Everybody here in the United States, they like it."

Indeed. Fuenmayor has been dubbed "The Great Balbino" on Twitter. His teammates have started calling him Bam-Bam.

It has been quite a journey for Fuenmayor, once a top prospect in the Blue Jays' organization. His power was always present, but his high strikeout ratio eventually wore Blue Jays officials down, and the club released him in 2013.

Fuenmayor thought about retiring, but his family talked him out of it, and that started a winding trail through independent leagues, and then to the Royals when assistant general manager of baseball operations Scott Sharp noticed his amazing numbers with Quebec -- .347 average, 23 homers, 99 RBIs.

Fuenmayor, who plays first base and at DH, has continued to mash the ball in the Royals' organization.

"Very interesting guy," assistant general manager/player personnel J.J. Picollo said. "He's done a great job of cutting his strikeouts down and improving his two-strike approach. And obviously he's got big power."

Fuenmayor, who lined a hard single in two at-bats at the Futures Game, and the Royals already have reached an agreement for a 2016 deal.

"Yes, yes, yes," Fuenmayor said. "Kansas City gave me the opportunity to play so I said yes because they gave me a second chance."

And Fuenmayor also had a message for other players: "My story is an example for other guys. You need to dream. You never know."

Shortstop Raul Mondesi and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert also were here representing the World Team and the Royals at the Futures Game.

Mondesi legged out an impressive infield single -- Statcast™ said he reached 21.4 mph on the way to first base.

"I can run faster," Mondesi said, smiling.

Cuthbert relished the chance last week to make his Major League debut. In four games, he went 5-for-15 with a triple, and held his own defensively, according to Royals manager Ned Yost.

"He fit right in," Yost said.

Cuthbert, who went 0-for-2 in the Futures Game, added, "I was a little nervous that first [Major League] game. But once I got a hit, it felt good. The guys there really made me feel comfortable."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.