Prospect Highlights: A Pirates First Baseman With a Rare Talent

The GCL Pirates have a first baseman in his fourth year of pro ball that displays a talent rarely seen in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. I’ve pointed out a couple times during the year, that Altoona super-utility player Drew Maggi was the only hitter in the system, with significant at-bats, who had more walks than strikeouts. He recently slipped just under even, with 38 walks and 39 strikeouts right now. Down in the GCL this year, Carlos Munoz has a 17/7 BB/SO ratio through 22 games. While it’s too early to mention his ratio in the same breath as Maggi, who has played all season, this isn’t something new for Munoz.

Back in 2011 when the Pirates still had a minor league team in Venezuela, Carlos Munoz made his debut right around his 17th birthday. He was one of the youngest players in the league, so I called him an interesting player to watch based solely on his age and the fact he got playing time. The next year, he and everyone else from the VSL, moved to the Dominican Summer League, where he saw much more playing time. Munoz hit .261 in 47 games, and while he didn’t show the power you would like to see from a first baseman, he was still 17 years old when the season opened and he put up an impressive 40/18 BB/SO ratio.

In his third season, Munoz put together a little bit of everything, making the All-Star team, hitting for average, power and once again, his incredible plate patience was on display. He had a .319 average, 21 extra-base hits and a 54/27 BB/SO ratio. That earned him a trip to the United States for Spring Training this year and the clean-up spot in the batting order for the GCL Pirates. Besides the great SO/BB ratio this year, he has a .292/.427/.431 triple slash line.

Below are five videos of Munoz courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. You can get a good look at one of the best pure hitters in the Pirates system, displaying that rare plate patience that holds so many hitters back. His body type could be a concern and his second half last year was well off the pace he set in the first half, so that is something to watch this year as the GCL season winds down in the August Bradenton heat. Despite the size, as you can see in the videos below, two people that have scouted the team recently, commented that he moved surprisingly well.

Video #2

Video #3

Video #4

Video #5


John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Nice look at the youngster. He appears to have that great mix of patience and the hand-eye coordination to put the bat on the ball a lot. Those are two of the key ingredients for the development of power, which, hopefully, we’ll see more of as he moves up through the system. I’m most encouraged to see a 1B prospect with a very good hit tool and patience.

R Edwards

From a first baseman, I want to see extra base power, HR power, and RBI production. Walks are nice, for a leadoff batter or middle infielder.


Nobody on here seems to get the point that plate discipline is the most difficult skill to get across to all young players. All the HR power etc. means nothing if a kid is constantly chasing and refuses to listen. Ask Joey Gallo what he has learned about that subject.

R Edwards

John – I do understand the rarity of guys who draw more walks, as opposed to strikeouts. I’m not totally dismissing that. But, from a first baseman prospect, I’d rather see the other things more than walks – home runs, extra base hits, RBIs, good average, etc. If he also draws some walks and is patient at the plate as well, that is an added bonus.

I’ve seen enough of Ike Davis to know that drawings walks and hitting singles is fine for a second baseman, but not for a first baseman.

R Edwards

You are missing my point John – and I probably was not clear. I was not saying anything specific to this particular prospect – he may be in fact a very good first base prospect. To be honest, I don’t know much about him.

My comments had to do with the subject in general – which seemed to suggest that drawing walks was the “be all, end all”. I was just saying, for a first base prospect, I would be more concerned with the other stats that i already mentioned.


Good stuff John, thanks. I always think what a grind it must be in the complex leagues. For the players yes, but I always reflect on the umpires in these highlights. So far away from their ultimate goal!!


Looks more like a catcher to me. His walks right now don’t interest me much, he will get a lot of strikes thrown to him as he goes up the ladder.


When the walks to k’s are as good as his have been it shows uncanny eye and patience that could mean he is a special hitter. We’ll see what happens when he faces better pitching. Hopefully his batspeed improves. Getting in better shape couldn’t hurt.

Michael Shaeffer

I love walks. Ball Four doesn’t get caught.

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