Report: Rays Hold Interest in Brian Fuentes | The Process Report

Report: Rays Hold Interest in Brian Fuentes


Again, no surprise that the Rays are after a potentially useful reliever. Even less so with Brian Fuentes, as the Rays have pursued him dating back through the 2008 season.

For a few years in Colorado, Fuentes was one of the better relievers in baseball. A move to the American League with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim didn’t treat him as well, but he still offers utility to any ballclub. The 35-year-old feasts on lefties in absurd fashion. Over the last three seasons the respective highs in each slash line form this combined line: .239/.308/.282. As a reference point, J.P. Howell keeps it funky and his 2008 season against lefties resulted in a line of .188/.286/.248.

Fuentes’ successes against righties are more modest. With the exception of the 2009 season (.261/.358/.428) his career slash line against of .226/.322/.379 captures the essence of his ability versus them, but might understate it. In 2010, he held righties to .202/.293/.403 and in 2008 they were restricted to a .290 on-base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage.

Much like Octavio Dotel, Fuentes enjoys flight. Unusually enough, Fuentes’ highest career flyball rate occurred in 2010, but his infield flyball rate was the lowest of his career – and his home run rate showed no sign of batters laying into his pitches any harder than usual. What that increase in flyballs means is … well, no one can be certain. The lessons of Dan Wheeler (that flyball dependency can reduce hit rate but increase home run rate) doesn’t play up with Fuentes either – as his career BABIP is right around league average (.292).

Paying Fuentes the closer premium is an unattractive idea given the other options available. Still, if Fuentes comes at a wage similar to the aforementioned Dotel then it should be easy enough to support.

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