Dodgers: Max Muncy Settling Nicely Into a Starting Role
The Dodgers have found surprise contributors over the past few seasons such as Joe Blanton, Brandon Morrow, and Chris Taylor. The latest surprise contributor is infielder Max Muncy.
Max Muncy was another minor league depth signing by the Dodgers’ front office this past winter and little did they know it would end up being a nice addition. With injuries to Corey Seager and Justin Turner this season, the Dodgers had been scrambling to find ways to plug in some players on the left side of their infield.
Logan Forsythe got the first crack to fill in for Turner but then he was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Kyle Farmer also got a brief shot as the starting third baseman with Turner out but he too failed to impress the Dodgers coaching staff. That’s when minor league veteran Max Muncy, a former fifth-round pick of the Oakland A’s, decided to step up and hold down the fort at third base.
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Muncy for the season is hitting .254 with five home runs and an impressive .907 OPS. Not only has Muncy showed power and plate discipline, he has also been a solid fielder at third and first base. At third base, Muncy has made the routine plays he is expected to make and lately he has shown to be a decent enough first baseman. On Monday night, Muncy was presented with his first real opportunities to show if he can pick balls at first base and Muncy successfully passed the test.
As Muncy has received more playing time at first base, he is starting to come into his own in a regular starting role against right-handed starting pitchers. In the last seven games, Max is hitting .286 with a .421 OBP and an OPS over 1000. When breaking it down to the month of May, Muncy is batting .275 with an OBP of .400 and a stellar .925 OPS. It’s unclear how long Max Muncy can keep his hot hitting up, but he is averaging a home run every four games which is all-star type power.
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While there is a chance this is all just a bottle of lightning that Muncy has caught, it is definitely feasible for Muncy to be a solid backup infielder for the Dodgers. Until the Dodgers figure out who can start in centerfield regularly, the plan against righties seems to be Muncy at first base and Cody Bellinger in centerfield. If the Dodgers decide to leave Bellinger in center for this season, they could always stick with Muncy for the rest of the season or trade for an upgrade.