The GCL Pirates have a first baseman in his fourth year of pro ball that displays a talent rarely seen in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. I’ve pointed out a couple times during the year, that Altoona super-utility player Drew Maggi was the only hitter in the system, with significant at-bats, who had more walks than strikeouts. He recently slipped just under even, with 38 walks and 39 strikeouts right now. Down in the GCL this year, Carlos Munoz has a 17/7 BB/SO ratio through 22 games. While it’s too early to mention his ratio in the same breath as Maggi, who has played all season, this isn’t something new for Munoz.
Back in 2011 when the Pirates still had a minor league team in Venezuela, Carlos Munoz made his debut right around his 17th birthday. He was one of the youngest players in the league, so I called him an interesting player to watch based solely on his age and the fact he got playing time. The next year, he and everyone else from the VSL, moved to the Dominican Summer League, where he saw much more playing time. Munoz hit .261 in 47 games, and while he didn’t show the power you would like to see from a first baseman, he was still 17 years old when the season opened and he put up an impressive 40/18 BB/SO ratio.
In his third season, Munoz put together a little bit of everything, making the All-Star team, hitting for average, power and once again, his incredible plate patience was on display. He had a .319 average, 21 extra-base hits and a 54/27 BB/SO ratio. That earned him a trip to the United States for Spring Training this year and the clean-up spot in the batting order for the GCL Pirates. Besides the great SO/BB ratio this year, he has a .292/.427/.431 triple slash line.
Below are five videos of Munoz courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. You can get a good look at one of the best pure hitters in the Pirates system, displaying that rare plate patience that holds so many hitters back. His body type could be a concern and his second half last year was well off the pace he set in the first half, so that is something to watch this year as the GCL season winds down in the August Bradenton heat. Despite the size, as you can see in the videos below, two people that have scouted the team recently, commented that he moved surprisingly well.