Los Angeles Dodgers Team MVP Max Muncy might miss the beginning of the 2022 season after his elbow injury upended the conclusion of the 2021 season, huh? Yikes. Sounds rough.
So can we … just go ahead and … build another Max Muncy?
While the Dodgers don’t have a literal factory in the back that turns UDFAs into All-Stars who can hit it into the ocean in San Fran, they do have a sterling player development arm that has seemingly taught many players to translate their cage work into in-game power in recent years.
And, wouldn’t you know it, there seem to be a few viable options currently floating around the minor-league free agent pool who the Dodgers might want to reach out to ahead of Spring Training.
We say this selfishly, too. Minor-league transactions are the only moves allowed right now, and we’d really like to sustain our content with a few breaking news updates. Not asking for much here. Just some crumbs.
It’s been nearly five years since the Dodgers made sure Muncy landed on his feet (April 28, 2017), signing him as a free agent after his early-March release from the Oakland A’s system. At the time, Muncy was a fifth-round pick from back in 2012 out of Baylor who’d put up big power-and-patience numbers at the lower levels (25 bombs, 100 RBI, .381 OBP across two levels in 2013).
Eventually, though, he stalled at Triple-A and his power disappeared; Muncy surprisingly posted just seven homers in 122 Texas League games at Double-A the very next season in 2014.
In finding the next Muncy — admittedly, a difficult process — we looked for recently-released players who’ve done a lot of OBP-heavy work at the minor-league level, but have either whiffed with MLB clubs or failed to crack through the ceiling.
These three options really could be solid assets for the Dodgers, and they’ll cost next to nothing to get their hands on. (NOTE: This list of minor-league free agents was our reference point.)
These 3 minor-league free agents could be the Dodgers’ next Max Muncy
3. Josh Ockimey
Josh Ockimey, a first baseman drafted by the Red Sox in the fifth round back in 2014 who loves to get on base and has some natural pop, fits the Muncy storyline almost perfectly.
The only real difference? Muncy struggled at the MLB level before resurfacing with the Dodgers, and Ockimey has never really gotten a chance to do so.
The one thing Ockimey doesn’t do? Hit for a high average, which is just about the least important things for big-league regulars these days, as long as they take their walks and develop their pop. After all, the real Muncy hit just .249 last year.
In his two recent seasons at Triple-A (2019 and 2021, thanks pandemic), Ockimey hit .204 and .225, but flexed his muscles with 25 homers and a ridiculous .353 OBP in Pawtucket before ripping 15 bombs in just 98 games in Worcester with a comparable .358 OBP this past season.
Ockimey’s best year was 2017. Split across two levels (100 games at High-A, 31 at Double-A), the first baseman hit .274 with 14 bombs, 74 RBI and a beastly .385 OBP. Positively James Loney-like, if you ask us.
The lefty-swinging Ockimey is unlikely to get a genuine chance in Boston, especially with Bobby Dalbec and tippy-top prospect Triston Casas ahead of him at the position. Re-signing with the only organization he’s ever known might bring him some comfort, but he should certainly test the waters instead — and the Dodgers should come calling.