Ismael Munguia, CF
BATS: L / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2015
LAST LEVEL: High-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #3 Center Fielder
2022 Performance: Ismael Munguia missed all of 2022 with a wrist tendon injury, after having a huge 2021 season where he hit .336/.366/.502 in Eugene over 81 games, and hit .484 over the final 21 games of the season to power Eugene to the playoffs and a Northwest League title.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Munguia’s biggest strength might be intangibles. Munguia plays with exuberance and energy, making his team better. But we can’t talk much about intangibles. Munguia’s aggressive swing is very contact oriented, and at his best, he will get a lot of hits with doubles power with it. He rarely strikes out, with just 27 strikeouts in 357 plate appearances in 2021 (just 7.6%), although he also walked just 13 times (3.6%), so his offensive game is very contact oriented. Munguia is listed at just 5’10”, which might be a bit generous, and he does not have much power, and has never had double-digit home runs, though in 2021, he had nine home runs, his first season with more than one home run.
Munguia has slightly above average speed, and has reached double-digit steals over his last two seasons played, stealing 28 bases in 38 attempts combined.
Defensively, Munguia plays more with energy than anything else, covering a lot of room in center field with an average throwing arm. Munguia has the tools to be an average center fielder, and a somewhat above-average defender at the other outfield spots.
2023 Outlook: Munguia is at spring training, and should be healthy enough to start the season in Double-A Richmond, where he’ll be asked to prove that 2021 wasn’t a blip and the wrist injury won’t hold him back.
Future Profile: As easy as it is to root for an undersized player, it means that Munguia does not have a high ceiling. However, you could see an effective everyday center fielder with limited offensive potential in him. A more likely level four him would be as a popular bench player who can play defense anywhere and be used as a pinch-hitter in contact-oriented situations.