• Chris Lollis

St. Louis Cardinals: Yairo Munoz; Super-Utility

Yairo Munoz mandatory photo credit Scott Rovak (USA TODAY Sports)

Yairo Munoz was acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals last December along with Max Schrock via a trade with the Oakland Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The trade itself was more viewed as the “feel good trade” that sent Piscotty close to home to be with his mother who was battling ALS.

Despite being 8th on the Cardinals preseason Top 20 prospects list, Munoz was a relatively unknown to Cardinals fans, as his time in the A’s system hadn’t resulted in a major league call up. During 2018 Spring Training however, Yairo quickly made a name for himself as he competed for a roster spot.

In his 48 at-bats, his Spring Training totals resulted with a slashline of .375/.423/.625, 3 HR, 18 H, 9 RBI and 13 R. Defensively, he was plugged into several different positions showing off his versatility. The Cardinals opted to put Munoz on the 25-man Opening Day roster over the likes of Luke Voit & Harrison Bader.

Yairo got off to a slow start in the majors, which resulted in him being sent to Memphis. A month later he would return to St. Louis, being called up to replace the injured Paul DeJong.

Defensively, a lot was left to be desired. Albeit small samples at several positions, Munoz accumulated 8 errors at shortstop, 5 at 2B, 3 at 3B and 2 in CF in his first major league season.

Offensively, in his 329 plate appearances, he ended the season with a respectable .276 avg., with 8 HR, and 42 RBI. He had 81 hits (16 doubles), walked 30 times and had 5 stolen bases.

The Cardinals will be without utility infielder Greg Garcia who spent the last 5 seasons with St. Louis, after he was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres earlier this month.

John Mozeliak has hinted about upgrading at the corners this off-season, leaving many to wonder what that means for Jedd Gyorko. Whether Jedd will be moved to a utility bench role (which was originally believed to have been the plan upon acquiring him) or possibly be traded this off-season.

In either instance, with Garcia being gone and the potential lack of current bench players, Yairo Munoz will likely be a super-utility player for the Cardinals in 2019. His versatility is a valuable attribute, but just how valuable will it be? We shall see.

What are your expectations from Munoz as he enters next season at age 24?

Do you expect him to improve, regress or maintain his numbers from a year ago.

Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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