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Weekend BP: Ismael Munguia makes a splash in his return

Filed under “things you love to see.”

Ismael Munguia celebrating afer making a catch in the outfield Photo by Rhona Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Saturday, San Francisco Giants fans. I hope you’re enjoying March, which happens to be the month where the Giants regular season begins. Good stuff.

The Giants played two Spring Training games on Friday, and there was no shortage of stories. The Rogers twins pitched in back-to-back innings. Joc Pederson tried out his glove at first base. Blake Sabol continued his trend of only hitting extra-base hits. Anthony DeSclafani made his spring debut. Vaun Brown homered.

But the best story of the day belonged to a name you might have forgotten about: Ismael Munguia. Things change so quickly in the land of prospects that it would be understandable if you’d forgotten about Munguia. But it wasn’t long ago that he was a very exciting prospect.

Munguia, a lefty, had a breakout 2021. Playing for High-A Eugene in his age-22 season, Munguia hit .336/.366/.502, good for a 130 wRC+. His contact was remarkable, as he struck out just 27 times in 357 plate appearances. He stole 15 bases, flashed a good amount of power for his tiny frame (9 homers, 3 triples, and 22 doubles), and played quality defense in center field.

That was enough for us to rank him 25th on our Community Prospect List.

And then came the injury. Munguia was injured this time last year, and underwent surgery on his wrist before the 2022 season started. He didn’t appear in a single game.

And now he’s back. Munguia returned to action on Friday and made his Spring Training debut, replacing Brown in right field. In his first plate appearance of his first game in a year and a half, Munguia battled for 14 pitches before smacking a home run.

Just for good measure, he singled in his only other at-bat of the day.

What an awesome story. Keep your eye on Munguia in 2023 to see if he can pick up where he left off. With Brown, Luis Matos, and Hunter Bishop likely to begin the year splitting center field reps in AA Richmond, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants send Munguia back to Eugene until he’s up to speed again. But then again, if Friday is any indication, he may already be caught up.