Let the Boston Red Sox career of Yairo Munoz begin!
Chaim Bloom is a collector and so far the collection is wooden arms, rubber bats, has-beens, never-weres, and multiple organization failures. Is there a method to this supposed madness? The Boston Red Sox simply collect, give them a reasonable shot, look for any measure of promise, and either discard or keep. So far the results have been less than scintillating. But occasionally a gem may surface.
A few years ago, Boston took a chance on Hector Velazquez and Ryan Brasier – Hector via the Mexican League and Brasier via Japan. Both became key contributors to the 2018 championship. Velazquez is now gone and Brasier is attempting to reboot.
This current menagerie attempt has only yielded Phillips Valdez – a 28-year-old righty who can notch Boston as his sixth professional organization. That is a rather sparse return on pitching, but one must expect low returns. It’s a numbers game and Boston is certainly taking full advantage of the 37% season and the 60-man Player Pool.
Valdez recently got scuffed up as reported by BSI’s Sean Penney, but another player has suddenly surfaced from Bloom’s going through the baseball yard sale looking for a treasure – Yairo Munoz. Munoz was released by the Cardinals in early March and signed as a free agent with Boston a few weeks later. Unlike Valdez, the right-hand hitting Munoz did have success with the Cards, hitting .273 in 196 games. Munoz actually started out in the Oakland organization before being traded to the Cardinals and now Boston.
Munoz certainly got our attention with six hits in Friday’s double-header, some solid base running, and a level of enthusiasm that shows a joy for the game. Munoz’s approach to hitting is to take his cuts and they are certainly healthy cuts even going to one knee flaying away on a two-strike pitch.
A statistical examination of Munoz will show what the scouting reports have said back in 2017 when Munoz was ranked tenth in the Cards system. A low BB%, a high K% and a free swinger which we have witnessed – those of us who choose that painful option this season.
"A right-handed hitter, Munoz has an impactful swing that yields plenty of hard contact, and there’s enough physical projection remaining to forecast at least average power in his future. He already shows good feel for finding the barrel and works to drive the ball back up the middle, though, like many young hitters, he stands to benefit from a more refined approach and better pitch recognition. – MLB Prospect Watch"
Defensively, Munoz has moved around the field at six positions with a level of defensive mediocrity. The UZR/150 and various other defensive metrics do not glitter and that is where separation takes place from who Munoz reminds me of another player in Red Sox history – Carlos Quintana.
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Quintana became a tragic happening in Red Sox history as a horrific automobile accident robbed him of what would have been a productive career. Quintana defensively was exceptional at first base and less so when sent to the outfield. In his five seasons in Boston, Quintana hit .276 and like Munoz was not a big power guy hitting 19 home runs in 438 games. Quintana – as I remember – was more disciplined but for the statistically inclined the “numbers” for Munoz and Quintana are similar.
Quintana missed a season recovering from his accident and when he returned the bat was somewhat muted. A thumb injury failed to respond 100% and what power Quintana had vanished with just one home run in 101 games. Quintana retired and Mo Vaughn took over at first base.
Quintana attempted another comeback playing for Buffalo (AAA) and the skill set was gone. I managed to see Quintana in a few games that season and he was a shell of his former self. Quintana again quit the game and with it a career that may have had a few .300 seasons embedded in the final tally.
Munoz may be a gem uncovered by the Bloom and the Red Sox certainly need a few after seeing the flotsam being rolled out to the mound almost daily. That’s what happens to teams when they approach quantity signings hoping for a quality find. Munoz and Valdez may be the only quality when we reflect back in a few years.