June's Defensive Player of the Month

July 12, 2021
For the second month in a row, a Rockies infielder is our Defensive Player of the Month.
 
Corner infielder Joshua Fuentes takes the honor for June following second baseman/third baseman Ryan McMahon’s selection for May. Fuentes led all players by saving 8 runs with his defense, 7 at third base and 1 at first base. He was selected in a vote by Sports Info Solutions staff.
 

Fuentes is also the overall leader in Defensive Runs Saved this season with 13, one more than McMahon and Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall. He’s also the runaway leader with 11 Runs Saved at third base. No player even has half as many at that position.

2021 Defensive Runs Saved Leaders

Player Team DRS
Joshua Fuentes Rockies 13
Ryan McMahon Rockies 12
Adam Duvall Marlins 12
J.P. Crawford Mariners 11
Max Muncy Dodgers 10
Brett Phillips Rays 10
Ha-seong Kim Padres 10

 

Fuentes and McMahon have helped the Rockies to a No. 2 overall ranking in Defensive Runs Saved this season. Their 48 Runs Saved trail only the Rays’ 62.

And yes, that’s Joshua Fuentes, not Josh. Fuentes made the change to his name in late May. A Josh by any other name still plays sweet defense (that’s a Shakespearian reference).

Some of the highlights of Fuentes’ month included three nifty catches of line drives including one in German Márquez’s no-hit bid on Tuesday, a Nolan Arenado-like play against Webster Rivas of the Padres, and a diving snag near first base against Omar Narváez of the Brewers.

Speaking of Arenado, Fuentes is related to his former teammate. The two of them are cousins. Great defense runs in the family.

Fuentes’ lead in Defensive Runs Saved is driven by his success in making plays on balls hit to his left (like these two). He’s converted 70-of-111 opportunities on those balls into outs as a third baseman, with opportunities defined as balls on which he had a greater-than-zero chance of making the play.

By our calculations, an average third baseman would have made only 57 plays, so Fuentes rates 13 plays above average (70 minus 57). The next-best third basemen on balls to their left are Charlie Culberson of the Rangers (8 plays above average), Arenado of the Cardinals (6), and Alex Bregman of the Astros (6).

"Joshua can do the spectacular," said Rockies TV analyst Ryan Spillborghs. "But where I’ve been impressed is his ability to make difficult plays look easy, using his footwork to get him a better hop, and making quality feeds for double plays."

That Fuentes is so good at third base is no surprise if you’ve followed him since his minor league days. We track Runs Saved in the minors for our team clients. Fuentes, who was undrafted out of Missouri Baptist University, led all third basemen at Double-A and Triple-A in Runs Saved in 2017 and 2018 and ranked second in 2019.

Lastly, Fuentes has a chance to do something unusual. He played fewer than 200 innings at first base last season but handled the position so well that he tied for the MLB lead in Runs Saved there.

Should Fuentes lead third basemen in Runs Saved this season, he’ll be the second player to lead the majors in that stat at different positions in consecutive seasons since the stat was first tracked in 2003. Franklin Gutierrez led in right field in 2008 and then center field in 2009.

 
 

COMMENTS

No comments have been posted.
 
©2021 Be Jolly, Inc. All Rights Reserved.|Powered by Sports Info Solutions|Terms & Conditions|Privacy Policy