The Oakland Athletics have a lot of middle infielders in their Minor League system including familiar names like Joey Wendle and Richie Martin. However, not many have heard of the A’s No. 13 shortstop prospect Yairo Munoz. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Munoz was signed at only 17 years old by the A’s in 2012.
Despite impressing scouts at the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game, it is hard to predict how these they will perform in the MLB system since these international players tend to sign at such a young age. Munoz definitely struggled his first two years in Rookie ball due to his lack of experience. Even though he had all of the raw talent, he did not know how to effectively use to his advantage.
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Thankfully, he turned things around in 2014 while playing with the Vermont Lake Monsters, who are a short-season A Class team for the Athletics. He batted .298/.319/.448 over 66 games played. Additionally, speed is one of his strong suits and he stole 14 bases that season.
This year, while with the Low-A Beloit team, Munoz did not fair as well. He began the season well but was not consistent at the plate. Some games were multi-hit nights, but then Munoz would go three or four games without a hit. Even though his production declined from 2014 to 2015, he was still promoted to the Stockton Ports, Oakland’s High-A team, since fellow shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto injured his wrist.
Surprisingly, Munoz did quite well in Stockton. It was actually his best performance in the Minors thus far. Even though he only played with the team for about a month, Munoz hit .320 and was slugging .852. It will be interesting to see if he remains in Stockton for the 2016 season or if he is dropped back down to Beloit next year.
Unlike some of the other shortstop prospects in Oakland’s farm system, Munoz is still a long way off from breaking into the Majors. He needs more time to fully master his skills. His quickness and strong arm will keep him in the middle infield, but he still needs to mature and improve his offense before moving any further up the Minor League ladder.
Unfortunately for Munoz, there are three other shortstops ranked above him the A’s prospect pool. Based on their skills, it is unlikely that Oakland will trade any of these players away. Thus, Munoz will have to work extra hard to be noticed by the coaches in the Athletics’ organization. As mentioned before, he has the talent, but it needs to be refined and polished before he can advance to the MLB.