There has been a lot of discussion about the Dodgers needing a LH hitting 2B this offseason. Okay maybe I have been the one talking about it. I have recommended the Dodgers look at Jace Peterson as the potential LH hitting 2B even without ever hearing one report that FAZ was interested. Yangervis Solarte and Erick Aybar are others that have at least drawn some attention. But my attention has now been directed to a player the Dodgers picked up off of waivers from the A’s last Spring…Max Muncy.
Muncy is 27 and was a 5th round 2012 draft pick out of Baylor University by the Oakland A’s. In his three years for Baylor, he hit .315/.408/.501 with 27 HR’s and 153 RBI’s. Muncy was first assigned to the Burlington Bees in the Midwest League which is a low A league. That is a good placement for a College Junior. His second year he started in the California League and was promoted to AA during the season. At the time he was promoted, Muncy was leading the Cal League in HR’s with 21 and 76 RBI’s. Overall for his 2nd year in professional baseball, Max hit 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. He was certainly on the A’s fast track.
Max went back to AA for 2014 and stayed the full year. Nothing spectacular, but steady. In 2015, Muncy started in Nashville in the PCL, but was promoted to Oakland on April 25 when Ben Zobrist was placed on the 15 Day DL. On May 17, 2015, Muncy hit his 1st career HR off of Jeff Samardzija. He split the 2016 season between Oakland and Nashville. The A’s needed a spot on the 40 man and released Muncy prior to the start of the 2017 season.
Muncy signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 27, 2017 and assigned him to the AAA OKC Dodgers. All he did was hit .309/.414/.491/.905 in 379 PA – 84K, 54 BB – 12 HR, 44 RBI, 20 DBL. The .905 OPS is very good, but what I latched on to was his .414 OBP. That’s impressive in any league. Compare those numbers to Alex Verdugo who in 495 PA hit .314/.389/.436/.825 with 6 HR’s and 62 RBI’s. Where Verdugo was outstanding was his 50 K’s vs. 52 BB’s. Since Muncy would be asked to face RHP only, I thought I would take a look at his AAA splits against RHP. His slash line was .323/.432/.528/.960 in 254 AB. What a hitter does in a hitter’s league like the PCL does not always translate into comparable stats at the ML level, but you really cannot expect more from a LH hitting 2B as a platoon potential. Muncy has played 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and both corner OF positions at both the major league and minor league level. He is a very well versed utility player. He cannot replace Kike’ because he does not play SS or CF, and has limited power, but he is the only MLB ready LH hitting utility player in the Dodger organization.
Conversely, perhaps his biggest challenge from a Dodger teammate might be RH hitting Tim Locastro who split his time in AA and AAA and had a 2017 overall slash line of .308/.383/.454/.887. In 103 AAA AB’s, he hit .388/.443/.544/.987. In 77 AAA AB’s against RHP, he hit .364/.424/.494/.917. In a larger sample size at AA with 288 AB’s against RHP he hit .267/.356/.392/.748. Locastro brings a different skill set and would also be a good part time player for the ML team, but Locastro might be best served to play 2B full time at OKC or continue his transition into a less power hitting Kike’ Hernandez.
At the very least, Muncy should be invited to ST with a chance to earn the position. Muncy is the type of player that I pull for…very hard.