Exciting and popular SF Giants outfield prospect takes home Barney Nugent award

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants announced on Thursday that exciting and popular outfield prospect Ismael Munguia will be taking home the Barney Nugent Award. The award is given annually to a player in his first major league camp whose performance and dedication capture the Giants' spirit.

Exciting and popular SF Giants outfield prospect takes home Barney Nugent award

This was really a no-brainer. Munguia is well liked by the Giants organization and he plays the game the right way. Win or lose, the 25-year-old is hustling on every play. That is the type you want kids to emulate when they are watching the game.

According to Roger Munter of There R Giants, Munguia received a $17,000 signing bonus out of Nicaragua during the 2015 international signing period. Signings under $10,000 do not count against the bonus pool, so his signing bonus registers right above that threshold.

Given this, Munguia has been in the farm system for quite some time and eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the past several seasons. He has performed well at every stop but has missed considerable time as well. Of course, all prospects were affected by the canceled 2020 minor league season, but Munguia was also sustained a borken wrist that kept him out for the entire 2022 season.

So, Munguia's development has been slow and steady. He hopes to reach Triple-A for the first time this season and there is a good chance that he does so after a solid Cactus League performance. In six minor league seasons, the right-handed bat has tallied a .295/.353/.411 line with a 6.7 percent walk rate, 9.9 percent strikeout rate, and a .116 ISO.

This includes .748 OPS with six home runs in 335 plate appearances in 2023 with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Munguia does not hit for much power, but sprays the ball all over the field and puts pressure on the defense with above-average foot speed.

Munguia has experience at all three outfield positions, but he has seen more time at the corners as he has advanced up the system.

Any time the right-handed bat was called upon this spring, he did something notable. He collected 14 hits, including two home runs, with eight RBI in 32 plate appearances. His baserunning instincts were on display as he swiped four bags in four opportunities.

The Giants should begin the year with several outfielders on the 40-man roster in Triple-A such as Wade Meckler and Heliot Ramos. Those types of players tend to get priority in terms of playing time, but Munguia looks poised to have a solid 2024 campaign wherever he starts the year.