Ismael Munguia, CF
BATS: L / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2015
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #2 Center Fielder, #30 Overall
Performance: He has been in the system since 2016, putting up solid numbers for most of his career, but 2022 might have been the first year we actually got to meet Ismael Munguia. In his first full year in High-A, Munguia put together a good year most of the year, and then went into another world late, batting .523/.523/.818 through August, not slowing down even after missing 2 weeks in the middle, and then hit .447/.449/.681 in September. Out of 21 games played in the two months, he had just one hitless game, and just four games with only one hit. He also spent the season hitting for power for the first time, collecting nine home runs after never hitting more than one in a season.
Munguia spent most of the season in center field for the Emeralds, handling things well out there. He also was one of the team’s emotional leaders, and ended up being one of the team’s leaders on the field as they went on to win the NWL championship. He was able to hit against both sides of the pitching mound, and takes more walks against southpaws to keep the splits even.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Everything about Munguia is aggressive. He plays with passion and emotion. He swings, a lot. In Eugene, he swung at 60 percent of the pitches he saw, and made contact on 87% of them. He doesn’t have the best raw tools, but he’s a ballhawk in the outfield. He plays over his 5’10” size, and makes things happen. And his emotion puts him on a similar boat as recent Giant fan favorites Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval.
That can be a plus and a minus, but it’s mostly a plus. Overall, his tools are more average, except for power that’s subpar. But he can play all three outfield positions with an average arm, and while he’s an average runner, he’s effective on the basepaths, with two years of double-digit steals and 75%+ success rates. The question about his aggressiveness at the plate will be a bigger question against more advanced pitchers, however, and whether his emotion will get the better of him in negative ways.
2022 Outlook: Munguia was a touch old at the High-A level, but he nearly earned the league MVP, and has earned his Double-A placement in 2022. Double-A is the test for aggressive hitters, and all eyes will be on Munguia’s strikeout rate and contact rate at the plate.
Future Profile: Munguia’s tools are hard to put a regular starting role on, but he’s done nothing but outpeform his tools so his ceiling is still as an effective everyday center fielder. But a more realistic outcome would be as the 4th outfielder who is used almost everyday, and is a positive impact on his team on the field and in the clubhouse.