Roddery Munoz was a relative unknown coming into the 2021 season, but just 18 months later, is one call away from the major leagues. With a lively fastball and improving offspeed stuff, Munoz shot his way up prospects lists and put together his first full, healthy season in 2022.
Preseason Report Card
Munoz was a known commodity coming into this past season, but health severely impacted his 2021 season and kept him from gaining as much traction as many had hoped he might garner after his early starts. His struggles kept him on the back end of top 30 lists, but the arm talent for Munoz was never in doubt and he was expected to be one of the top breakout candidates for the 2022 season.
What we saw in 2022
Despite limited Low-A experience, Munoz was pushed up to High-A Rome this past season, and the returns on that were sketchy early on. His fastball command was giving him problems and he lacked the strikeout numbers he had put up at Low-A, leaving him with a 5.24 ERA at the end of June.
Munoz still had a lot left to prove, and he did so by taking off in July, with a 1.63 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 27 2⁄3 innings in the month. His fastball command improved through this span, but he was helped in large part by an improved slider that gave him an additional option in his arsenal. He earned a callup to Double-A in August and his first start went off the rails, but he reined it in and struck out 12 batters over 10 innings in his final two starts. His start to the season was rocky, but his late-season performance proved he could turn his talent into something that impacted games, and showed that he was making big strides towards unlocking his potential.
Munoz was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and while that gives him an obvious benefit in salary and proximity to the major leagues, it also puts more pressure on him to continue to turn his talent into in-game production. If his command and changeup don’t take steps forward, Munoz could be relegated to a bullpen role, though that is far from a terrible outcome because of how well his arsenal would play in relief. With an upper-90s fastball and an improving slider, he is clearly one of the most exciting arms in the system and has a chance to further break out at the Double-A level. He will continue to get chances to start for now, and with a big season has at least some chance to get a look for a bullpen role in Atlanta.