Roddery Munoz was a breakout prospect for the Atlanta Braves two years ago, and quickly climbed the ranks of the organization. Munoz never appeared in Atlanta, however, being lost in the roster churn during the season to waivers.
How he was acquired
Munoz was signed by the Braves out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He was an older signee, being 18 at the time, and also came into the system with his twin brother Rolddy Munoz.
Preseason Report Card
Munoz came in at number 17 on our preseason prospect list, with his status on the 40-man roster conferring a huge opportunity for the year. He had spent his career to this point as a starter, but had limited exposure due to the pandemic and a list of injuries in 2021. 2022 was his first opportunity to truly cement himself, and he reached Double-A before struggling in a few starts there. Being moved onto the 40-man roster protected him from the Rule 5 draft, but put pressure on his development. Combined with his lack of polish, it all seemed to suggest a reliever future for the right-hander. Still, he was a high-ceiling power arm that had hopes to contribute.
What we saw in 2023
Munoz pitched only one game as a starter in Mississippi before he was quickly moved up to Gwinnett. There, Munoz saw his role switch to the bullpen, and he had mixed results in Triple-A. He continued to hit the upper 90s and struck out 26 batters in 23 1⁄3 innings, but his walks ballooned as he posted a 4.63 ERA, 5.33 FIP, and 5.59 xFIP. A three-outing stretch in early May accounted for most of the damage ERA-wise, as he allowed 10 runs in 3 1⁄3 innings, but his command had not shown improvement since the prior year, and his poor peripherals were more of a constant issue. Munoz received his first major league call up on June 6th, but never appeared in a game before being sent back to Gwinnett. He was then sent down to Florida to get work in with the FCL Braves before moving back to Triple-A in July, where his time would be short-lived.
Two games in Gwinnett was all Munoz would pitch before being designated for assignment on July 13th to make room on the 40-man roster for Lucas Luetge and Dalton Guthrie. Four days later, he was claimed by the Nationals, who assigned him to Triple-A Rochester and ended up moving him back into the starting rotation. Most of the same problems remained, and he put up a 6.98 ERA and 6.31 FIP for Rochester over his final 12 appearances.
Munoz was clearly not ready for Major League action in 2023, and the Braves organization did not have a 40-man roster spot to dedicate to his development. The effort to move him to the bullpen did not pay dividends, but the Nationals are a favorable landing spot. A team in their position will have more roster flexibility with which to show patience. Munoz has premium athleticism, size, and fastball velocity to go along with a re-tooled slider that now features more as a cutter. Long-term, Munoz’s future still seems destined for the bullpen, as his pitch mix and lack of command don’t project well to a starting role.