By Jason Shetler
When the Pirates signed Luis Heredia out of Mexico in 2010, he was considered the Bucs biggest Latin amateur prospect since Aramis Ramirez in 1994. Heredia agreed to sign with the Pirates for $2.6 million, but has been a very inconsistent pitcher since then. Another amateur signee in 2010 from Mexico is looking to make a bigger impact and that’s Carlos Munoz.
Munoz is a left-handed hitting first baseman who is listed at 5’11, 225 pounds. While I’m sure there are some scouts that consider his size to be non-athletic, he’s been very productive in short season leagues since joining the organization.
2012 (DSL Pirates): .443 OBP, .809 OPS, 143 wRC+
2013 (DSL Pirates): .456 OBP, .914 OPS, 169 wRC+
2014 (GCL Pirates): .377 OBP, .799 OPS, 134 wRC+
2015 (Bristol/West Virginia): .426 OBP, .992 OPS, 160 wRC+
The numbers have been superb for Munoz, as he’s posted an on base percentage above .400 in three of the last four seasons, thanks in large part to an outstanding 19% walk rate. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he strikes out only 11% of the time. On Wednesday, Munoz made Baseball America’s list of the Top 20 prospects in the Appalachian League for 2015. In addition to the strong on base, he also showed power this year by slugging .587, which resulted in having an OPS near 1.000.
Munoz will begin 2016 playing in his first full season for the West Virginia Power. Even if his strikeout rate increases some over time due to longer seasons and more advanced pitching, the solid on base figures and developing power could still make him an impact prospect in the Pirates system very soon.