Cascades of boos raining down, a ball fouled off the forehead, and facing one of the newest and nastiest relievers in baseball; that was the difficult task of Jose Altuve in the 8th inning on Sunday in Seattle, as he became the 9th consecutive batter struck out by Mariners reliever Andres Munoz. Munoz is one of the filthiest young pitchers in baseball, and he will be coming out of the Seattle pen for years to come.
On August 30th, 2020, Jerry Dipoto struck a deal with the Padres that sent Austin Nola and others to San Diego, bringing Ty France, Taylor Trammell and Luis Torrens to Seattle. Many Padres fans were happy with the deal at the time, but were sick about the fourth piece they had to give up in Andres Munoz.
The Mariners grabbed a steal in flame throwing reliever Andres Munoz.
Munoz is a right handed pitcher out of Mexico, and debuted for the Padres in 2019. He missed 2020 and most of 2021 after having Tommy John surgery, only making one appearance for the Mariners in the final game of 2021.
Munoz is off to a red hot start in 2022, turning heads of people around the league. In four innings pitched, he has a 60% K rate with just a 6.7% BB rate, according to Fangraphs. These numbers are absurd and more than likely are not sustainable, but there are many reasons to be excited. Munoz is electric, and his Baseball Savant page agrees. His page lights up red, notably ranking in the 100th percentile in K% and the 93rd percentile in xBA.
Andres relies on a two pitch mix, a power fastball and a tight, sharp slider. Munoz averages 100.4 MPH on his fastball, and registered the fastest recorded pitch in Mariners history with a 103 MPH heater against the White Sox last week.
His slider is sharp and tight, sitting from mid to high 80s. The slider carries a whiff percentage of 66.7% on the season, ranking him in the 99th percentile of all major leaguers. The only blemish on Munoz’s 2022 resume was an incredible blast off the bat of Byron Buxton, on a nearly unhittable 102 MPH fastball out of the zone.
Munoz has unbelievable stuff and velocity. His two pitch mix can go toe to toe with the best relievers in baseball, and if his trends continue he could become one of the better arms we have seen in a Mariners bullpen.
The Mariners agree, signing him to a 4 year extension last offseason worth 7.5 million. This extension will buy out his arbitration years, and the team will have club options in the years following. The Mariners clearly see him developing into a star out of the bullpen.
On Sunday, Munoz struck out his 9th consecutive batter, setting a new club record. His dominance is noticeable, and the stuff is undeniable. America’s team may have a new closer, and his name is Andres Munoz.