Just 18 years old right now (DOB: January 16, 1999), right-handed pitcher Andres Munoz became the youngest prospect at this year’s Arizona Fall League when the San Diego Padres opted to send him there to pitch for the Peoria Javelinas in October. It was something of a surprise considering the Mexican righty had only just been signed in 2016, and he’d had just three games of full-season experience reaching Fort Wayne briefly in the summer of 2017. And yet Munoz possesses a triple-digit fastball and a hard, sweeping slider — ingredients ideal for a successful late-inning reliever — and so the Padres opted to throw him in the deep end with Peoria and see how things turned out.
All things considered, the AFL season couldn’t have gone much better than it did for Andres Munoz; in nine appearances (8.2 innings pitched), the lanky righty allowed just one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out 11 hitters to finish with a 1.04 ERA and a .138 opponents’ batting average. That wrapped a very strong 2017 campaign for the relief arm, who coupled the AFL with solid summer statistics spent predominantly with short-season Tri-City, and those three appearances in Fort Wayne: a 3-0 record with a 3.81 ERA over 26 innings across 24 relief appearances, with just 17 hits and 18 walks allowed against 38 strikeouts in that span.
Considering how quickly the San Diego Padres have pushed Munoz already, 2018 should be interesting for the young reliever. Below, we’ll explore that a little bit more along with our tool grades, game video, and scouting notes in our full end-of-season Andres Munoz scouting report here.
Andres Munoz Scouting Report, San Diego Padres — 2017
Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League
Andres Munoz Scouting Report — San Diego Padres — 2017 Game Video
Andres Munoz Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis
There isn’t much nuance to what Andres Munoz does on the mound: a fastball flirting with triple digits and a potentially wipeout slider make him the ideal power reliever, and apparently, the San Diego Padres don’t intend to waste too much time nurturing that future in the low minors. And while it’s fun — and impressive — that the 18-year-old had sustained success with Peoria in the Arizona Fall League this year, there are still considerable mechanical and execution issues that must be worked out before he’s truly ready for San Diego, no matter how far the club pushes him through the minor leagues. That said, a triple-digit fastball is going to warrant considerable opportunities in this game, and Andres Munoz has some of the easiest, highest velocity numbers out of anyone we saw across all of 2017. If he can consistently corral all the pieces just enough to throw strikes against better hitters, there’s no reason Munoz shouldn’t remain on the fast track to a big league bullpen.
Andres Munoz Scouting Report — Future Projection
Considering he’ll turn only 19 years old in January, one would figure Andres Munoz would start the year back at Fort Wayne, or perhaps High-A Lake Elsinore if all goes right after a strong AFL showing. The San Diego Padres are pretty high on him, though, so even with mechanical corrections and arsenal improvements, it’s feasible Munoz could find himself up in the upper minors by the end of 2018. Expect 2019 to be a realistic landing year for the lanky righyt to reach the big leagues, considering his relative struggles and young age. If Andres Munoz proves he can keep his ample pitch life and deception while more often throwing strikes, one day a big league closer role may be well within his grasp.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Legitimate closer future with exceptional power profile; ample work to be done between now and then, but frontline closer ceiling well within reach (60/65)
MLB ETA: 2019
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