Mariners activate hard-throwing RHP Andrés Muñoz from IL for final postseason push
Hard-throwing 22-year-old reliever Andrés Muñoz hasn’t pitched a game for the Mariners since Seattle acquired him at the 2020 trade deadline. Heck, he hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2019. But that may change as the Mariners activated the young flamethrower from the injured list for the team’s final two games of the season while placing veteran reliever Joe Smith on the injured list (no reason given).
Muñoz, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound hurler, came to Seattle in the same trade that saw the Mariners acquire first baseman Ty France, catcher/designated hitter Luis Torrens and young outfielder Taylor Trammell.
Unlike those three, though, Muñoz has yet to play in a big league game for the Mariners. That’s because he underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2019 season while he was with the Padres.
In his first taste of MLB action at just 20 years old, Muñoz did very well for the Padres out of the bullpen, striking out 30 and posting a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings. The advanced numbers also show just how dominant Muñoz can be.
Per Statcast, Muñoz’s fastball in 2019 was in the 100th percentile in terms of velocity. Meaning the best of the best. He averaged 99.9 mph on the 4-seamer in 275 pitches.
Muñoz is a flamethrower, but he also has a stellar secondary offering in his slider. Opponents hit just .065 (2-31) off the pitch in 2019 and he recorded 18 of his 30 strikeouts with the breaking ball.
The Mariners’ bullpen has been stellar this year, led by Paul Sewald, Drew Steckenrider, Casey Sadler and, more recently, Diego Castillo. But Muñoz gives manager Scott Servais another stellar arm in the back of the bullpen for the last two games of the year, which are both must-wins as any loss knocks the Mariners out of postseason contention.
And while he won’t be back like Muñoz, it’s worth noting that Ken Giles, who has also spent 2021 recovering from Tommy John, will join Muñoz, Sewald, Steckenrider, Sadler and Castillo in the Mariners’ bullpen in 2022.