The Winnipeg Goldeyes are the kings of the attendance world, and their center fielder is the stolen base king.
You can call Fehlandt Lentini Crash Davis. Davis, who was glorified in Bull Durham, was your typical journeyman minor leaguer who had a cup of coffee in “the show”. With so much talent in the game, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. In the end Davis became the minor league leader in home runs and rode off into the sunset.
Lentini has been playing professional baseball for over 13 years. Originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 41st round of the 1996 MLB June Amateur Draft from Napa Valley JC, Lentini raised some eyebrows by having one of the greatest seasons in school history.
According to the Napa Valley Register, in 2001 he put together numbers that still stand to this day; batting average (.427), hits (117), doubles (23), triples (10), and runs (89).
He was drafted by the Rangers but eventually signed with the Houston Astros. He spent two years with the “Stros” making up to Double A.
As it is with many players, the Major League dream hit a snag, but Lentini, who stole 73 bases in those three seasons, still had the talent to play. He signed with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since.
Over the years Lentini has been as consistent as they come. With a career .311 batting average and a .357 OBP, he gets on base and makes it count. His powers numbers have also seen a spike in recent years. Last year, playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, Lentini hit a career high 19 home runs driving in 92, raising his overall slugging percentage to .481.
Always a speedster on the bases, he has been one of the best. It’s never a surprise for Lentini to have over 30 steals at the end of the season, something he has done over six times. Playing for the Goldeyes in 2007, he swiped a personal best 57 bases which contributed to his Independent leading 332 stolen bases. According to the Winnipeg Sun, that pushed him past Bill Hall in to first place, but he hasn’t yet fully realized what he accomplished.
“”It feels good. I guess maybe it will sink in later,” said Lentini, who is taking the third-base bag as a souvenir to bring home with him to California. “I didn’t really enjoy it in the moment, I was just pumped to steal the base to give ourselves a chance to score right there. That’s what I was keying in on.”
It doesn’t matter that Lentini didn’t become a MLB superstar, he quietly became an Independent League legend. This story may not make the breaking news section of ESPN, but to all the Crash Davis’ out there, nothing is better than this.
*Statistics courtesy Baseball Reference*
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM’s Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM’s Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.