The Midland RockHounds' star-studded infield just got a bit flashier with the arrival of Oakland A's number eight prospect Yairo Munoz. Munoz joins fellow top-15 Oakland A's prospects Matt Chapman, Franklin Barreto and Ryon Healy in the RockHounds' infield.
Munoz began the season in extended spring training, where he was rehabbing a foot/heel issue. The native of the Dominican Republic split his 2015 season between Low-A Beloit and High-A Stockton. He joined the RockHounds' roster for the Texas League finals after the Ports were eliminated from the Cal League post-season, but he didn't appear in a game for Midland during that series.
Munoz was signed by the A's on January 24, 2012 and he made his professional debut with the DSL A's later that season. In 2013, Munoz came stateside and played in 25 games for the AZL A's. The next season Munoz was slated to return to the AZL, but a spring injury to Jesus Lopez created an opening for Munoz with short-season Vermont. He took full advantage, hitting .298 with a .448 SLG in 66 games for the Lake Monsters.
Last season, Munoz made his full-season league debut with Beloit. He got off to a fast start in the Midwest League, earning a spot in the Midwest League All-Star game. Munoz slumped badly in June and July, but his season took on new life with an August promotion to High-A Stockton. He hit .320/.372/.480 in 39 regular season games with the Ports and then added another homer during the post-season. Munoz helped Stockton clinch a playoff berth despite losing both Barreto and Chapman to injuries at the end of July.
Munoz is a line-drive hitter with above-average speed and some power. He has one of the strongest throwing arms in the A's system and is an excellent athlete. Munoz has predominantly played shortstop during his career. According to Oakland A's General Manager David Forst, Munoz will be on a playing progression coming out of extended spring training, so he will have regular off-days in the early going. Forst says Munoz is expected to see time at shortstop, third base and second base as the season goes on.