Prior to a December trade that sent Stephen Piscotty to the A's, the Cardinals seemingly had endless close-to-the-majors outfielders and between one and zero MLB-caliber defensive shortstops. Enter Yairo Munoz, whom the Cardinals received from Oakland, along with Max Schrock. He may never hit enough to be an everyday player, but he has the glove to handle the six, and is also capable of playing second base and third base. In addition to his defensive chops on the dirt, Munoz fills another need for the Cardinals with above-average speed on the bases. He has hit for power at times in the minors, most notably last year at Double-A when he posted a .216 ISO, but he is unlikely to hit many over the fence in the majors without really compromising his approach. With 272 plate appearances under his belt at Triple-A, the 23-year-old is close to being ready to fill a bench role for the big club. His speed makes him interesting in really deep leagues, as his defense could earn him at-bats if Paul DeJong regresses.
Munoz will be on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Munoz has clearly impressed the organization throughout the course of spring training, hitting .375/.423/.625 with three home runs and nine RBI in 48 at-bats in Grapefruit League action. The 22-year-old will be utilized as a reserve all around the infield and is known for his defensive abilities. Over 65 games with Triple-A Nashville in Oakland's system last year, he hit .289 with a .730 OPS to go along with 17 extra-base hits and 42 RBI. Munoz also brings some speed on the basepaths, so he could be a useful commodity in deeper formats if Paul DeJong or Kolten Wong were to sustain an injury.
Manager Mike Matheny said that Munoz (shoulder) is "game ready," Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Munoz had been dealing with a minor shoulder injury for the past couple days, but he should be ready to play immediately even though he's not a fixture in the team's starting lineup. Looking ahead, expect Munoz to begin the 2018 season at the Triple-A level, but he's not too far away from filling a bench role for the Redbirds.
Manager Mike Matheny said that Munoz is dealing with a shoulder injury, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Matheny didn't get into any specifics as it related to Munoz's status, so consider the shortstop day-to-day while he recovers from this ailment. Prior to the setback, Munoz was tearing it up at spring camp, going 9-for-25 with two home runs and five RBI in eight Grapefruit League outings.
Munoz is hitting .360 with two home runs, one steal (on one attempt) and a 5:0 K:BB in 25 at-bats this spring. Munoz and Max Schrock were dealt from Oakland to St. Louis in exchange for Stephen Piscotty this offseason. He provides the Cardinals with middle-infield defense and plus speed on the bases -- two things they were greatly lacking in the upper levels of their farm system. The team just announced a contract extension for shortstop Paul DeJong, and Kolten Wong is also under contract at second base, so Munoz appears to be somewhat blocked, but he could be the first man up to replace DeJong if he were to get injured at some point this summer. If Munoz were to get semi-regular playing time, he has enough speed to be useful in deeper formats.
Munoz was traded to the Cardinals from the A's, alongside Max Schrock, in exchange for Stephen Piscotty, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Munoz split time between the two highest levels of the minors last year, and fared decently well during his first opportunity in Triple-A after being promoted in late June. Over the course of 65 games with Nashville, the shortstop slashed .289/.316/.414 with seven home runs, 42 RBI and 10 stolen bases. The soon-to-be 22-year-old can play anywhere in the infield, and looked much more comfortable at the plate this past season than he did in 2016 at the Double-A level, during which he hit just .240 with an OPS of .653. He will begin the 2018 campaign with Triple-A Memphis, and should be available as a depth option if the big-league club deals with injuries this summer. His likely long-term role is as a utility infielder.
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