Giants Expect Ismael Munguia To Outplay His Stature
Listed at 5-foot-10, 158 pounds, Ismael Munguia isn’t the prototypical professional outfielder. He does, however, produce.
“That’s the fun thing about baseball,” Giants farm director Kyle Haines said. “You don’t have to fit the prototypical athletic profile, right? You see people of all different sizes and shapes play really well at high levels as long as they’re really highly skilled—and Munguia is really highly skilled.”
Haines listed some of the 24-year-old lefthanded hitter's skills: bat-to-ball, baserunning, defense and “a lot of power out of that small frame.”
The Giants signed Munguia as a 16-year-old out of Nicaragua in 2015. He made his pro debut a year later and made his mark with High-A Eugene in 2021. He led all High-A hitters with a .336 average and a 7.6% strikeout rate while stealing 15 bases in 20 attempts as the Emeralds won the Northwest League title.
“He was so good in 2021,” Haines said, calling Munguia “kind of the heart and soul of that order in Eugene.”
Munguia’s career was sidelined by a wrist injury in the Nicaraguan League following the 2021 season. He had surgery and sat out the 2022 season.
“I expected him to be a little rusty” at the outset of 2023, Haines said, but “he looks like he just hasn’t missed a beat.”
Munguia provided the Giants’ most poignant moment of the Cactus League. In a game against the Rockies on March 3, Munguia ended his first at-bat of the spring by homering to right on the 14th pitch.
Not only was that a special return from Munguia’s year absence, but it came just days after his brother Francisco Antonio had died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 18.
Through interpreter Erwin Higueros, Munguia told the San Francisco Chronicle: “It was a very emotional moment for me. When I hit the home run, I looked up in the sky and I said, ‘This is for you, Toño.’ ”
That moment could exemplify why Haines is so high on Munguia.
“He’s going to overachieve,” Haines said. “He’s going to give his best effort, and I guarantee you he’ll outplay his size.”