Photo courtesy of MASN.
The Pirates claimed right-hander Roddery Muñoz off waivers from the Washington Nationals, and he was placed on their 40-man roster.
Roddery Muñoz signed with the Atlanta Braves as an International free agent in 2018. He made his professional debut later that year with the Dominican Summer League Braves. In 10 games, he went 1-2 and had an ERA of 6.88. He played in the DSL the following season as well and started 14 games. He only went 0-5 but he did have a solid ERA of 3.77 and gave up less hits than innings pitched and struck out more than 1 hitter per inning.
In 2022 for Atlanta, he split time between A and AA and went 8-4 with a 4.66 ERA and struck out 119 hitters in 100.1 innings pitched, though he did have issues with control problems at times. After the success he had in 2022, the Atlanta Braves added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
He started with Triple A Gwinnett in 2023 after a solid spring training. He worked out of the bullpen in 2023 and in 16 games he was 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA and once again showed his strikeout prowess during the season, striking out 27 and walking 19 in 27.1 innings.
In July of 2023, he was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Washington Nationals. He started 10 games for AAA Rochester and struggled as a starting pitcher. He went 1-3 with an ERA of 6.98 and in 38.2 innings he struck out 41 and walked 27. He also gave up 8 homers in his limited time. Earlier last week, the Nationals tried to sneak him through waivers but the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed him and added him to their 40-man.
Roddery Muñoz has swing-and-miss stuff with a fastball-slider combination. His fastball sits around 95 and has been clocked as high as 100 mph. His slider is in the low-90’s and is an electric “swing and miss” type pitch. His 3rd pitch is a changeup that sits around 90 mph and when he throws it for a strike it is virtually unhittable. Though he is striking out 9.9 hitters per 9 innings, his walk numbers are a tad too high for a pitcher who wants to be a part of a MLB rotation. Over his minor league career, he is averaging 4.7 walks per 9 innings.
This is another no-risk signing by Ben Cherington and one that could really pay off. With the season-ending surgery to Johan Oviedo, the Pirates are going to need to bring in several competent arms. Muñoz has proven he can be a power pitcher who has 3 capable pitches. The Pirates have a couple of options with Muñoz, as he could be a long reliever or the Pirates can send him down to Indianapolis and give him a shot at the rotation. He only turns 24 at the beginning of the season and Cherington has given the organization another arm with plenty of options in his future.