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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

Fastball (75)
Youngest player at AFL but also arguably best natural fastball life and velocity there, too. Easy upper 90s velocity without having to reach back and overthrow. Natural arm-side run. Gun-slinger/low three-quarters release point brings him some fade/sink on occasion too, but inconsistent. Lacks command feel for the pitch, but more than enough velocity to make up for it with margin of error. Will drop elbow and work uphill to the top half of the zone with it, too, but again — significant margin of error with double-plus velocity. Chance to have one of the best fastballs in baseball with another few years of development. Velocity: 95-99, T 100.

Slider (50)
Below average for me, but I think he can get it to a solidly average, 50-grade pitch with some work. More than anything, he needs to throw it harder; it lacks hard, late bite at times and will spin out loose and float to the plate in the low 80s. Tendency to get around and underneath the pitch, leaving it flat and sweeping with less downward bite; will also back up on him more often than it should. When it’s on, it’s a looser 10-to-4 breaker with more sweeping action than late bite. Low arm angle and inconsistent arm path/release point further affect execution of the pitch. Needs to learn to ‘grip it and rip it;’ trust grip with little manual manipulation and throw the hell out of it like his fastball; will show better downward life and improve rapidly sitting in upper 80s/low 90s like that. Velocity: 80-83, T 84.

Control/Command (50/40)
Command profile fits a short-stint relief role, especially with his power arsenal; struggles to work side to side with consistency; variable mechanics and release points make it difficult to find the strike zone at times. Falls off very hard to first base side in follow-through, pulling away momentum and leverage from his power stuff while also affecting control and command. Even with exciting power arsenal, command profile must improve if he’s to be trusted with high-leverage innings against better hitters.

Gunslinger; closed off to hitters and bent over to help hide the ball. Low three-quarters arm slot; still manages to work downhill even with bent trunk and lower arm slot, though. Mechanics somewhat reminiscent of Francisco Rodriguez, especially considering hard fall to first base. Inconsistent arm action and release points, affecting command and at times taking away velocity. Ample deception in mechanics, though, and so must strike a balance between ironing out flaws for consistency and keeping quirks that make hitters uncomfortable.

Very, very young and AFL appearance in 2017 an indication Padres may push him quickly; mentally mature and calm even when throw into the deep end in Peoria. More than enough arm strength to succeed in upper minors, but there are some potentially significant command issues to work out here and he’ll need to prove the mental toughness to face far older hitters and develop quickly against veteran hitters.

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

Did you like this Andres Munoz scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Colorado Rockies OF Daniel Jipping — CLICK HERE

Detroit Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull — CLICK HERE

New York Yankees RHP Cody Carroll — CLICK HERE

Colorado Rockies C Javier Guevara — CLICK HERE

Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Mitch Keller — CLICK HERE


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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