The San Diego Padres have recalled fireball right-handed pitcher Andres Munoz from the minors.
The San Diego Padres are coming off their first .500 or better finish in the first half since 2010.
With the help of young stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, the Padres seemingly exceeded expectations in the first 90 games of the season. As they enter second half play against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, San Diego sits just two games back of a wild-card spot in the National League.
While there was a ton of positives from the team’s successful first half, some clear negatives need to be addressed if the Padres’ want to improve as a club. The most obvious one is the struggling bullpen, which in recent memory has been a strong suit of the team.
Reinforcements seem to be on the way.
MLB.com beat writer AJ Cassavell reported on Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the game, that Andres Munoz would be promoted to the big league club to bolster a weak bullpen.
Andres Muñoz — one of the most interesting relief prospects in baseball, with a fastball that hits triple digits — will be promoted to the big league club. The Padres’ bullpen needed a second-half boost, after posting a 4.81 first-half ERA.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) July 12, 2019
The 20-year-old Mexican native is one of the more intriguing prospects in the team’s system. He’s reached triple-digits with his fastball multiple times, including recording an absurd 104 mph reading in a game earlier this season. He pairs a devastating slider with his fastball and has a potential elite two-pitch mix that almost all successful back-end relievers have.
Andres Muñoz has turned in a solid performance thus far in 2019, tossing 35 2/3 innings across Double-A and Triple-A. He’s struck out 58 batters, walked 18, and opponents are only hitting .197 against him on the year with a 3.03 ERA.
Just like any prospect, Muñoz does have his fair share of question marks. His ability to control his pitches has always seemed to be an issue, as his WHIP and BB numbers are a tad bit high for someone who profiles as the team’s closer of the future. There’s also the fact that a 20-year-old, who is not fully developed yet, consistently throws baseballs above 100+ mph, which is certainly not good for the elbow.
With all that being said, Muñoz is certainly an upgrade on the team’s current bullpen situation. Velocity tends to play at any level and sometimes throwing hard is enough to overpower hitters regardless of if you have no idea where it’s going. If Kirby Yates is dealt for some reason, it’s possible that the team allows Muñoz to close games out as the season comes to an end. Regardless of what happens, Andres Muñoz promotion to the major leagues is a step in the right direction for the San Diego Padres.