SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
27. Ismael Munguia, OF
Highest Level: High-A (Eugene)
Acquired: IFA (2020)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Ismael Munguia might be the closest thing to a 21st-century rendition of Matty Alou. Munguia has an arguably unparalleled ability to put the ball in play and has consistently produced at the plate despite a slight 5’10’’-160 lbs. frame. In 304 plate appearances this year, Munguia has hit .319/.354/.468 with 15 stolen bases and just 21 strikeouts.
After hitting .286/.343/.376 at Augusta in 2019 at just 20, Munguia continued on to High-A Eugene, where he’s been a productive sparkplug at the top of their lineup. While Munguia’s power potential probably tops out around a 35 grade (50 is considered league-average), he has been making harder contact this season, producing the highest extra-base hit rate of his career and blasting seven home runs (he only had three prior to 2021).
Munguia has above-average speed and should be at least average defensively across the outfield, which should make him at least a valuable fourth outfielder. Eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason, Munguia could be an interesting candidate for a team eyeing outfield depth. The SF Giants will be hard-pressed to protect him given their 40-man roster crunch, but a rebuilding team could eye him to slot in at the back of their bench in 2022.
I’m always optimistic that a prospect with a truly elite ability can outperform expectations. While there are obvious limitations on Munguia’s ceiling, he does have enough similarities to Juan Pierre and Nori Aoki that there is a foreseeable path for him to find a larger role than expected if everything comes together.