Muñoz in 2018
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 34|
|Infielder / Outfielder|
Born: January 23, 1995|
Nagua, Dominican Republic
|March 29, 2018, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2018 season)
|Runs batted in||42|
Yairo Muñoz (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟʝaɪˈro]; born January 23, 1995) is a Dominican professional baseball infielder and outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2018.
Muñoz signed as an international free agent with the Oakland Athletics. He made his professional debut in 2012 when he played for the Dominican Athletics of the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, where he batted .229 in 32 games played. In 2013, he played for the Arizona Athletics of the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he posted a .194 batting average with five runs batted in (RBIs) in 25 games. While playing for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League in 2014, Muñoz batted .298 with five home runs, 20 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases in 66 games.
Muñoz began the 2015 season with the Beloit Snappers of the Class A Midwest League and received a midseason promotion to the Stockton Ports of the Class A-Advanced California League. He posted a combined .260 batting average, 13 home runs, and 74 RBIs in 136 total games between the two teams. In 2016, Muñoz played for the Midland RockHounds of the Class AA Texas League, where he and Franklin Barreto switched between playing shortstop and second base, while Muñoz also played third base. In 102 games, he batted .240 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs. After the 2016 season, he played for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League and the Athletics added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from becoming eligible in the Rule 5 draft. He spent 2017 with both Midland and the Nashville Sounds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (PCL), batting a combined .300 with 13 home runs, 68 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases in 112 games between both teams. In addition to the infield, Muñoz played as a center fielder in 2017.
On December 14, 2017, the Athletics traded Muñoz and Max Schrock to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Stephen Piscotty. During 2018 spring training, he competed for a spot on the Cardinals' Opening Day 25-man roster. After hitting .375/.423/.625 with 18 hits and three home runs, scoring 13 runs with 9 RBIs over 48 at-bats in spring training, the Cardinals chose Muñoz over Harrison Bader and Luke Voit for a spot on the Opening Day roster. During spring training, he played shortstop, center field, right field, and second base. Manager Mike Matheny said on Muñoz's varied skills, "“I haven’t seen anyone whose two primary positions are center field and shortstop.”
Muñoz made his major league debut on March 29. After batting only .111 in 11 games, he was sent back down to the Memphis Redbirds of the PCL on April 16. He was recalled once again on May 18 when Paul DeJong was placed on the disabled list. On May 22, he had four hits in a loss to the Kansas City Royals. His first career walk-off home run came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on May 31 at Busch Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a three-run shot off Felipe Vázquez to give the Cardinals a 10-8 win. Muñoz was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his major league career on August 11, and was activated on August 22. He finished his 2018 campaign batting .276 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 108 games, spending time at six different positions.
Muñoz's father died when he was six years old. He and his two older brothers moved into his aunt and uncle's house in the village of Payita, where 12 people lived in a three-bedroom house, while his mother worked in the next town and sent them the money she earned.
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- "Ortiz: Cardinals prospect Munoz learned early about versatility | Jose de Jesus Ortiz". stltoday.com. March 2, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- "Munoz makes roster as Cards send down 3". MLB.com. March 23, 2018.
- "Munoz, Pena make Cards' roster; Bader, Voit to Memphis; Gregerson has hamstring injury". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 23, 2018.
- Hummel, Rick (May 18, 2018). "Cardinals' Paul DeJong goes on DL with fractured left hand". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
- "Munoz homer gives Cards win". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved May 31, 2018.