We’ve talked a lot this month about how the Red Sox are, more than anything else, playing for 2021 right now. They still have to put out as competitive a lineup as possible for the general good of the sport, but there is also an eye towards finding players who could potentially contribute next season. One of the success stories on that quest has been Yairo Muñoz, who has played himself into a situation where he could be the favorite for a utility role next season. Unfortunately, we may not be able to see him again this year. Muñoz was placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Saturday’s game against the Yankees. César Puello is coming up to take the open spot on the roster.
#RedSox place Yairo Munoz on IL. OF Cesar Puello called up.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 19, 2020
Puello would be the 46th player used in 53 games this season, one fewer than over 162 games last season.
Muñoz’s IL stint is retroactive to Thursday, when he was removed due to back spasms.
As I said, Muñoz has made quite the impression in his short time in the majors over the last few weeks. Some of it isn’t even really related to the numbers, as he’s shown an ability to play good defense all around the field while bringing a certain energy that has been lacking at times this year for the Red Sox. But he’s also put up the numbers to go along with the intangibles. Muñoz accrued 45 plate appearances this season, hitting .333/.333/.511 for a 123 wRC+. Obviously the sample is very small, but it will be all we have to work with as Muñoz would only be eligible to return for the season’s final game.
For his replacement, the Red Sox don’t have a ton of outfield depth right now, so Puello is the call. A former Mets prospect, he has been in Pawtucket all summer and is finally getting his break now at the end of the year. The outfielder got 147 plate appearances in the majors last year between Seattle and with the Angels, hitting .248/.356/.384. It’s worth noting the difference between the average and on-base percentage is due to being hit eleven times, as his walk rate was a below-average 6.8 percent. He is expected to be part of the starting lineup on Saturday.