- In 2010, Nunez signed with the A's (see Transactions below).
Renato had a big summer in 2012 for his U.S. debut in the Arizona Rookie League, tying for second in the loop in RBIs (42) and ranking fifth in slugging (.550).
In 2011, Baseball America rated Nunez as the 16th-best prospect in the A's organization. He was at #26 in the spring of 2012. Then they moved Renato up to #12 in the winter before 2013 spring training.
And they moved Renato up some more in the spring of 2014—up to 5th-best prospect in the A's farm system. Renato was at #4 in the offseason before both 2015 and 2016 spring camps opened. They dropped him to #18 in the spring of 2017, and he fell further to # 20 in the spring of 2018.
Renato is a motivated, intelligent guy that wants to succeed. He always plays hard and has an aggressive personality.
In both 2014 and 2015, Nunez was named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.And he started for the World Team.
Nunez’s first full winter-ball experience in his home country was a positive experience during the winter before 2017 spring training.
“It gives him another opportunity to continue working on his consistency at the plate,” said Keith Lieppman, Oakland’s long-time farm director. “Winter ball is a great opportunity because you see a lot of breaking balls. He can be a whole lot better, just because the more pitches you see, the more opportunity you have to lay off tough pitches and focus more on balls you want to hit, rather than the tough pitches that nobody can hit.”
Nunez echoed that sentiment in an e-mail interview, stating that he’s facing a lot of pitchers with major league and Triple-A experience. It’s given him the opportunity to better adjust his hitting approach on the fly rather than being able to plan ahead of time.
“Here, you don’t have video,” Nunez said. “You don’t know the pitchers. You’ve just got to go up there and hit. You’ve got to get a plan really quick.” (Bill Mitchell - Baseball America - 1/13/2017)
Renato was named to the 2017 All-Pacific Coast League team and leads all Minor League players with 32 home runs this season, while driving in a team-high 77 runs. "He's probably one of the most polished hitters I've seen," A's first baseman Matt Olson said. "Seeing him get consistent at-bats here would be fun to watch."
"We'll have to find some at-bats for him, because he can really hit, probably as well as any of these guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And to put up the type of numbers he did and get recognized for it, well deserved, and he must feel good about it. I think it's first and foremost rewarding him and getting him here, and then we'll kind of figure out where the at-bats come."
The situation grows trickier beyond September 2017. Nunez, signed by the A's out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old for $2.2 million in 2010, must remain on the A's 25-man roster next season or be exposed to waivers.
He's the first Sounds player to be recognized on the All-PCL team since infielder Joey Wendle in 2015. "He's had a great year, no doubt," Olson said. "He's been jumping around the field defensively, trying to find a spot, but him at the plate has never been a question. He's a very complete hitter. He has stupid power."
Added Melvin: "In an organization that has a lot of prospects like we do and most of them are kind of in the same group, he kind of gets lost in the shuffle with the Chapmans and the Olsons and the [Chad] Pinders and the Barretos. But you look at his numbers, man, and you talk to these guys that have played with him, he can really hit." (Lee - mlb.com - 8/28/17)
June 15, 2019: Three decades ago, long before his son would emerge into one of the Majors’ breakout sluggers, Renato Nunez Sr. had his own baseball dream derailed. This was in the mid-1980s in baseball-crazed Valencia, Venezuela, a city that would become a pipeline of sorts for big league talent in the years to come. A young teenager at the time, Nunez had shown enough promise to get looks with the country’s national amateur team. A professional career appeared possible, perhaps on the horizon.
Then, a sudden accident changed the trajectory of Nunez’s life. While running with friends in his neighborhood, Nunez collided head-on with a rosebush rife with thorns. One pierced his left pupil, causing Nunez to lose sight in the eye. To this day, he never recovered it.
“I am in love with the game of baseball, passionate about it since I was a little kid,” Nunez said, via telephone from Venezuela, with the help of Orioles translator Ramon Alarcon. “That injury did not allow me to go further in baseball.”
The itch, though, never left Nunez. Even as his focus shifted -- to owning a business, to starting a family -- the tug of the game following him into adulthood. When fatherhood approached, he began envisioning a life for his son he could not have himself.
“Ever since his mom was pregnant with him, I started imagining, dreaming, of having a little boy and him becoming a baseball player,” said Nunez Sr. “I think as soon as I learned it was a boy, I started dreaming about him and talking to him when he was in the belly.”
Flash forward to the present day, and Nunez Sr. calls it an “unbelievable feeling knowing that dream came true.” He’s watched pridefully as his son, Renato Núñez, spent the weeks leading to Father’s Day slugging his way up the MLB home run leaderboards.
“I really think it’s all that energy he put into me,” Nunez said of his father. “That’s a big reason why I’m here.”
By that, Nunez means the passion and drive he says his father instilled in him from a young age, and the support his entire family still provides. They are in constant communication, and each winter, Nunez returns home to the place where he first became enamored with hitting, which he’s always been able to do. Now 25, Nunez laughs at the memory of him as a 10-year-old, so excited to swing that he forgot to bring his glove to a Little League game.
Nunez is creating a sizable network for doing so, from good friend Gleyber Torres to occasional offseason training partners and countrymen Jose Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, whom Nunez grew up idolizing. But still, as it always has, the bulk of the baseball conversation happens between father and son. In many ways, they remain on this big league journey together.
“Fortunately, he became a lover of baseball also. He followed my lead in that regard, but it was a combination of me being in love first,” Nunez Sr. said. “I am living this as if it was my dream. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s his dream, but we're all very happy supporting it.” (J Trezza - MLB.com - June 15, 2019)
July 2, 2010: Nunez trained with Ciro Barios in Venezuela before he signed with scout Julio Franco as a free agent with the A's. His bonus was $2.2 million.
April 15, 2018: The Rangers claimed Nunez off waivers from the A's.
- May 13, 2018: The Orioles claimed infielder Renato Núñez off waivers from the Rangers.