Shortstop prospect Danny Muno has been invited to big league camp this Spring by the New York Mets.
Muno,spent the 2013 season with Double-A Binghamton, seeing time in the middle infield both at second base and shortstop while batting at the top of the order – two areas that the Mets are incredibly deficient in.
The switch-hitting infielder has played well in his pro career with the Mets. He has continued to progress and proven to be a great commodity in an organization that is starting to show how ripe they are in talent. He played a pivotal role at second base and as the lead-off man for the B-Mets this past season; he set the table for the rest of their hitters. He led the Eastern League with 86 runs, was third with 92 walks, and sixth with a .384 OBP.
Muno, 24, started his pro career with the Brooklyn Cyclones back in 2011, and in 59 games he batted .355 with a .466 OBP and was promoted to St. Lucie in 2012 with the hopes hat he would continue with his development. But in May of 2012, he was suspended for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs and was banned for 50 games.
He returned to the St. Lucie lineup and in 81 games he batted .280 with a .387 OBP. The quick-footed infielder also added speed to his game and swiped 19 bases. The Mets moved him up to Binghamton this past season where he became part of a great group of teammates that together made franchise history.
Looking back at his brief pro career, Muno has shown much promise even though he had a detour in his journey. What I have learned in my life is that everyone makes mistakes and what you do with those mistakes is what determines the type of person you become. In my opinion, what he did was wrong and it just delayed his road to the big stage, but his resolve to come back, work harder and continue to perform and compete allows me to respect him more as a man than just a player.
Daniel was gracious enough to grant us an interview for the readers of Mets Merized Online this offseason. Enjoy…
* * * * * * * * *
David – Daniel, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me and our writers. I know the Mets fans will appreciate getting to know you through your responses, as much as they have appreciated the hard work you have put out on the field.
David - Is there anything about you that the Mets fans do not know that you would like to share with them? Your interests, anything outside of baseball?
Daniel – I love the beach and anything that has to do with it. I love to surf.
David – Who was your favorite player growing up and did you try to model yourself after him in any way?
Daniel – Growing up I loved to watch Nomar Garciaparra because he played the game hard and was a great hitter.
David - In 2008 you were part of the first Fresno State Baseball team to win the College World Series, can you describe the feeling of playing in the biggest game in your school’s history and actually winning it?
Daniel – 2008 will go down as one of the best moments in my life. I was apart of a team that no one expected to win the College World Series. We were the lowest seeded team to ever win the College World Series. We were a true underdog story. It was an amazing experience playing in front of 30,000 fans in Rosenblatt Stadium.
David – You had many accomplishments in college, from leading the league in walks in 2008, to breaking the school’s record for career walks and becoming the first Bull Dog to hit for the cycle; what do you feel contributed to your patience at the plate in college and do you feel it has helped you in pro ball?
Daniel – The person that helped me develop my approach at the plate in college was our head coach Mike Batesole. He taught me how to be patient and how to see pitches for the rest of the team. Being a patient hitter has definitely helped me in pro ball.
David – You were drafted by the Mets in the 8th round of the 2011 Draft out of school; where were you when you received the news? Can you describe what was going through your mind and who was the first person you called?
Daniel – I was with my dad and grandpa at my grandpa’s house and I was watching on the computer and saw my name come up and I was extremely excited and I called my mom first to tell her because she wasn’t there.
David – While in college was there any organization you hoped would draft you? Did you expect the Mets to be that team?
Daniel – In college I was just hoping one team drafted me and I had a feeling the Mets were going to draft me because I was in contact with the now scouting director Doug Thurman. Also, I have to give thanks to Doug Thurman for seeing what he saw in me.
David – You played your first season of pro ball with the Brooklyn Cyclones and played well. Did you see any difference with going from College Baseball to Pro Baseball, and if so what stood out?
Daniel – The main difference was that everyone was good and in college there were maybe 5 or 6 guys on a team that were good.
David – You have played second base, shortstop, and some third base in your pro ball career, and even though you have spent the most of the time at second base, which position do you feel most comfortable?
Daniel – I feel I can play all three very well and I feel comfortable at all three.
David – What teammate has impressed you the most this season, and who should Mets fans be most excited about seeing in the future?
Daniel – Noah Syndergaard is going to be the real deal and it was very fun to watch him throw every time he pitched and also is very great teammate and kid.
David – Is there a Met manager or coach who has made an impact in your approach to the game and helped elevate your performance?
Daniel – When I first got to Brooklyn I loved learning and playing for Rich Donnelly; he is a great coach and knows how to get the best out every kid he coaches. Hitting-wise, I learned a lot from our hitting coach Louie Natera in Binghamton this season.
David – Playing with the B-Mets this year, you were able to experience playoff baseball in pro ball, how does that compare to playoff baseball in College and which was most exciting for you?
Daniel – Well anytime your a part of playoff baseball it is exciting. I have been lucky enough to be apart of the playoffs every year in pro ball and college. The atmosphere is the same from college to pro ball except for my freshman year when I was in the World Series we had about 30,000 more fans.
David – What was the chemistry like in the B-Mets clubhouse while competing for a playoff spot?
Daniel – We had a great group of guys in Binghamton this year and chemistry between the team was great.
David – You have had success in your career in the minors; do you feel like you are on track with the goals you set for yourself? If so, what are you expecting for 2014?
Daniel – In 2014, I am just going to keep trying to do what I have been doing. Also just going to keep trying to help my team win whatever team I may be on.
A few questions from a couple of our Staff Writers…
Staff Writers - Let’s look back to last season with St. Lucie; it’s well known that you tested positive for PED’s and were suspended for 50 games, how did you deal with it, what lessons did you learn, and has it changed you as a player? Does it motivate you to go out there and prove yourself?
Daniel – Last year was a learning experience for me and it was tough to go through but ultimately it has made me a better person in life and baseball.
Staff Writers – There were plenty of special moments in Binghamton this year…what was your favorite and why?
Daniel – Setting the record for most wins and making it to playoffs. Just because I love to win.
Staff Writers - Moving forward, what stands between you and the big leagues? What do you specifically need to work on as a player, and improve upon, in order to be ready to compete on the big stage?
Daniel – There is nothing that stands between me and the big leagues. I just have to keep getting better and Lord willing things will work out.
Staff Writers – How will you prepare over the winter, can you describe your workout regimen?
Daniel – I train very hard in the off-season and I am very detail oriented in my workouts and follow the Mets off season training program.
* * * * * * * * *
We would like to thank Daniel Muno for allowing me the opportunity to interview him and giving our readers and Mets fans a better insight into who he is and what to look forward to as he continues his exciting career. We wish him much success and will continue to root for him to make his major league debut in the near future. Great things are happening in the Mets farm system and the future continues to look bright.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Clark Foundation)