Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE
#15: Yairo Munoz, SS/INF
6’1”, 165 lbs (nuh-uh), Bats/Throws: Right/Right
DOB: 23 January 1995; Signed 2012 (Dominican Republic)
Level(s) in 2017: AA/AAA in the Athletics’ system
Notable Numbers: 140 wRC+ in AA, 86 wRC+ in AAA, sub-5% BB both stops, .215 ISO AA, .125 ISO AAA, 16.9% K rate both levels (weird)
So, what’s so great about this guy?
Yairo Munoz was one of the two prospects the Cardinals received in return for sending Stephen Piscotty back home to the Bay Area, and in most circles you’ll find him the more highly-regarded of the two. Not here at VEB Industries, however. Here, we have serious concerns about Munoz’s ultra-aggressive approach at the plate and future position, though we’re still appreciative of various aspects of his game as well, certainly.
What Munoz brings to the table right off the bat is above-average bat to ball skill, and began this season to show some notable damage on contact as well. He’s filled out significantly over the last couple seasons (seriously, that 165 number is ridiculous, even by listed baseball height-weight standards), and has gotten substantially stronger in the process. What he showed this season at Double A Midland is basically the best version of what he could be: a hacker at the plate, but one who just killed everything he hit and forced pitchers to respect him.
As little as Munoz walks, he’ll probably never have a very high on-base percentage, and while his swing looks like it should produce lots of flyball contact, he actually hits the ball on the ground significantly more than you would prefer to see from a player with his bat speed. He hits from an extremely widespread stance, and doesn’t incorporate his lower half into his swing as much as I would like.
As far as non-bat tools go, Munoz runs well, a tick above average, and has a tremendous throwing arm that makes him a natural fit for the left side of the infield. I have concerns about his ability to play shortstop, though that’s primarily what he’s played thus far in the minors. For me, he profiles better at third, but the bat would have to play up a bit more. It’s possible Munoz ends up fitting best as a ‘tweener utility infielder, one whose contact and power could make him very valuable.
If he’s good, it will look like: Honestly, watching Munoz reminds me most of Aledmys Diaz. Both play shortstop, though I’m not sure either one should. Both have natural bat to ball skills and bat speed that translates into surprising pop, and both have serious deficiencies in terms of approach at the plate. Diaz in 2016 was obviously a more patient hitter than he’s shown at other times, but Munoz has really never looked like anything but a hacker. I need to see Munoz more before I really come down hard one way or the other on his defense and approach, though.