LH Hitting 2B – How About Max Muncy?

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 5thround 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 2ndyear 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 1stcareer 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.

 

 

This article has 23 Comments

  1. Hopefully, Farhan is reading this with his coffee this morning.

    Muncy sounds just about right.

    Maybe, as he read it, he took Chase Utley off speed dial.

  2. I think it is time to move on and not bring back Chase. He is a great club house guy, but we have those. Let ST decide who is on the bench. Kike is certainly going to be one. I have always like Segedin. I guy who was going to quit baseball but was given a chance with the Dodgers.

  3. Oh that hurts Mark,
    It would be so nice to have Utley around in some capacity.
    No not playing 2nd base but coaching or leading in some way.
    I know I am being sentimental.
    Maybe Farhan gives Andrew Chase’s number.

  4. I’m going to miss Utley! Wish we could’ve gotten him a few years earlier! Bring him in as a roving instructor to teach the kids how to slide and get under the opposing players’ skin! Oops, did I just say that?

  5. Max Muncy. It just shows you how the Dodgers are. He sounds like he would be the perfect fit. I hope they are considering him. I like we are finding players before they become that guy!

  6. Greetings on a chilly day in Wisconsin! Here is a trade idea…Ryan Braun for Matt Kemp…straight up. We take on some possible productive salary. The Brewers save cash over the next 4 year and open up spots for their young players. We might need to add a potential starter to sweeten the pot.

    1. Innovative, but only if Milwaukee sends back a bunch of salary. Braun is older than Kemp and is owed nearly $75 million over 4 years. To me, that is prolonging the agony.

    2. It is one thing to trade for Braun while Kemp was not on the team and another thing to swap Kemp for Braun. Kemp may not still be liked as much as he was when he was runner up for MVP but that trade would still remind everybody of the fact that Braun won the MVP while using Steroids.

  7. Mark, I respectively disagree. If we do this trade, the Dodgers would save $$ on total payroll the next two years and I think a hitter like Braun would be more tradeable to an AL squad as a DH if he suddenly declined defensively as he aged.

    1. They would save a Million Eight in 18 and 19 and then owe Braun about $36 million more. in 20 and 21. I gotta belive they could get someone to pony up more than $1.8 million a year.

  8. Probably so. But wouldn’t Braun fill the LF need for a productive RH bat really well? I think he would be highly motivated to succeed and could provide a solid #5 hitter behind Cory.

  9. Re: Muncy and Locastro–they make me more confident after the Dodgers traded Culberson. It was nice having him a phone call away. The Dodgers could trade Forsythe and move Taylor to second and still have sufficient depth in case of injury.
    .
    Right now FAZ and Roberts like Taylor in CF but there is more depth in the outfield than the infield. Also, Forsythe is tradeable and his $8M salary is large enough if moved to help fund a pitcher or Yelich.

  10. Mark and I disagreed with THE TRADE for reasons that most should be familiar with. But now that the Dodgers have built a strong player development program with a steady pipeline of talent, there is absolutely no reason for them to tie their hands with two additional years of an albatross contract. Braun is clearly on the downside of his career, and is as much of a risk as Kemp, if not more.

    If anything, the acquisition of Kemp was a move to provide the Dodgers with financial flexibility going forward. Why in the world would they shackle themselves with two additional years of an aging player’s contract?

  11. I’m pretty sure Zaidi has said they don’t view an Utley replacing LH 2B as a need for the coming year.

    1. … and Zaidi said they weren’t going to trade Dee Gordon about 24 hours before they did. Not they there is anything wrong with that, but you can’t believe anything they say. That’s just part of what they have to do.

      1. The two scenarios are completely different and have different affectations based on the Front Office’s statements.

        By claiming you are looking to trade Dee Gordon, you devalue him.

        If the Dodgers said they were looking to sign a LH 2B, they would get more offers.

  12. Brooklyn,
    If you look at Braun’s stats, he’d be an asset compared to Kemp IMO over next two years and even if it costs the Dodgers 10M over last two years to get free of him (which I doubt) the cost control of a reliever like Knebel would more than pay the difference given the current reliever market.

  13. Write this down:The Dodgers will not take on additional salary over the $43 million owed Kemp.

  14. why not, if it doesn’t cause them to exchange salary max for 2018 or affect their ability to wheel and deal in 2019. With cap to increase by $9M in 2019 and incrementally in 2020, 2021 and 2022 there seems to be an opportuniorty for Dodgers to get better.

    Mark would you rather have Kemp or Braun on team in 2018 and 2019?

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