Maybe old school Los Angeles Dodgers fans actually won’t care about this because their team is really good. And at this point, most have embraced the analytically-forward front office that has led the charge since after the 2015 season.
Still, though, there are some out there who don’t care about advanced statistics that don’t necessarily translate to on-field production, which is why Max Muncy’s latest take on what numbers should be shown on the scoreboard might rub a select few the wrong way.
For pretty much as long as anybody can remember, scoreboards at ballparks have displayed a player’s batting average next to their name in the lineup for the crowd to see. However, the game has changed, and batting average isn’t exactly held in the high regard that it used to be.
To kick off the 2022 season, Muncy isn’t exactly excelling in that department. He’s hitting .148 with 14 strikeouts through 16 games. Slow start, not really a big deal. But that also hasn’t told the entire story.
The slugger is getting on base at a .313 clip, which is an astonishing 165 points higher than his average. And his OPS is a not-too-great .628, but it certainly better reflects Muncy’s contributions compared to his batting average.
So there you have it. Muncy wants OPS displayed on the scoreboard (which some parks have started doing!) instead so fans aren’t exactly outraged with his perceived lack of production.
Dodgers fans can debate about Max Muncy’s scoreboard stats take
Here’s what Muncy told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (subscription required):
"“I like when the scoreboards do the OPS instead of batting averages. That looks much nicer. It doesn’t hurt as bad because I still get on base. Yeah, when you see the OPS it’s a little bit nicer.”"
Plus, have you seen this guy’s athleticism for his size? And his versatility on defense? Batting average does not define this man! As the sport continues to expose and educate fans on the impact of different types of numbers, it’ll be easier for more to understand the different ways a specific player can change a game.
And if you look at Muncy’s career numbers, he’s hitting .237, which many would consider “bad.” And it is! But he’s OPSing .851 (and has a 128 OPS+) across seven MLB seasons, which means he’s getting on base a lot (.360 on-base percentage) and recording a lot of extra-base hits (.491 slugging percentage).
Let’s be real: it’d be weird if Muncy hit for average. His career in LA since 2018 has been embodied by plentiful walks, monster home runs and blasts into the gap. And that’s why the fans love him. So why not further remind them exactly why they do?