Flamethrower Andres Munoz poised for big year
Connor Rogers explains the high value of Mariners RP Andres Munoz coming into this season as he looks to build off his impressive, but short stint last year.
- In Major League history, only 36 times has a pitcher amassed a 35% strikeout rate and wound up with six times as many strikeouts as walks. When Andres Munoz did it last year at the tender age of 23, he became the youngest member of that group, finishing with a 96 to 15 strikeout to walk ratio in 65 innings.
Even though Munoz was coming off Tommy John surgery and made just one appearance in his first 13 months after coming over from the Padres in the Austin Nola deal, the Mariners gave him a four-year deal prior to the beginning of last season. It's an obvious steal right now.
Munoz was the game's second hardest thrower behind Minnesota's Jhoan Duran, averaging 100.2 miles per hour with his fastball. In spite of that, he threw his slider two thirds of the time, racking up 78 strikeouts on the pitch. The league actually hit 0.338 off the heater. Still, Munoz only needs to stay healthy to fulfill his destiny and become one of the league's greatest relievers.
He took a back seat to Paul Sewald in the closer mix last year. But he should achieve primacy soon. There are no financial reasons for holding him back, as the salaries are already decided. Even if he has to settle for 15 to 20 saves this year, there's a good chance he'll be a top 15 reliever anyway.