ROUND ROCK, Texas - In a deep pool of candidates, Albuquerque Isotopes infielder Josh Fuentes emerged at the top, narrowly beating out Reno Aces infielder Kevin Cron , to earn the Pacific Coast League's 2018 Rookie of the Year. Fuentes joins outfielder Joc Pederson as the only players in Albuquerque's history to win the award.
Fuentes, who was tabbed by Baseball America as Colorado's No. 25 prospect entering the season, has been the Isotopes everyday third baseman. In a League-high-tying 129 games played, Fuentes has hit .321, amassing 169 hits to become the third player in franchise history to eclipse the 160-hit plateau in a season. Fuentes is tops among PCL players in hits, extra-base hits (59) and total bases (268). 45 of his extra-base hits went for doubles (33) or triples (12), totals that, along with his 87 runs scored and 92 RBI, place second in the circuit.
Video: 'Topes' Fuentes rips a single
The Rancho Santa Margarita, California native has not hit below .297 in any month. Fuentes' most prolific offensive month came in June, when he hit .345 (39-for-113) and posted a .917 OPS in 27 games. With a home run on July 27 in Colorado Springs, Fuentes became the first player in Minor League Baseball in 2018 to hit at least 10 doubles, 10 triples and 10 home runs. A month earlier, on May 20 against Reno, he matched his career-high with five RBI, part of a three-hit game. Fuentes' offensive highlights this year have also featured his first career grand slam, hitting a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning on August 17 against Sacramento.
Video: 'Topes' Fuentes homers
Fuentes adds another accolade to a growing list for his play this season. The 25-year-old was named both a mid- and postseason All-Star. Fuentes, who started at third base for the PCL in the Triple-A All-Star Game, was the League's BUSH'S® All-Star MVP after notching two hits, including a home run, and two RBI in the PCL's decisive six-run second inning. In addition to his offensive fireworks, Fuentes was selected the Isotopes Players' Choice Winner for Defensive Player of the Year.
Video: Albuquerque's Fuentes homers to right-center
The fifth-year professional has been with the Rockies ever since going undrafted out of college. In 536 career games, Fuentes has hit .295 (588-for-1996) with 53 home runs and 305 RBI. He was a Double-A Eastern League post-season All-Star last year with Hartford after batting .307 (127-for-414) in 122 games.
Ever since 1998, the PCL's field managers, media representatives, broadcasters and League officials have voted for the best first-year Triple-A player. Along with Fuentes and Cron, a total of 11 players, from eight different teams, received vote(s). Fuentes joins the likes of Felix Hernandez (2005), Howie Kendrick (2006), Adam Eaton (2012) and last year's recipient Amed Rosario to have won this award.
2018 Awards Schedule:
- Thursday, August 30: Pitcher of the Year
- Friday, August 31: Most Valuable Player
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.