After a down season in which he was recovering from elbow surgery, Max Muncy has fully returned to form and leading the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.
Muncy is only batting .239, but he’s boasts a 1.039 on-base plus slugging percentage with 12 home runs and 27 RBI across 92 at-bats. He added a walk-off grand slam on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies to give the Dodgers their second consecutive series sweep.
Despite losing Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in free agency during the offseason, the Dodgers have one of the top offenses in baseball. They are currently fourth in MLB in runs scored and first in the National League with 182.
With a new-look roster and multiple players struggling through the first month of the season, Muncy has become arguably the most important player in the lineup.
“You hate to say that one guy is sort of a key figure, but if I had to pick one guy who is going well, guys feed off of Max and what he’s doing in the batter’s box,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“That’s just the truth. So for him to scratch out a knock [Tuesday] night, and didn’t look good early today, then to find a way to salvage it and make it a really positive day, was big.”
Muncy is in the early running for the National League MVP Award, which he previously finished in 15th place for in 2018 and 2019, and 10th in voting in 2021.
Max Muncy hot hitting
Muncy currently leads all of MLB in home runs and slugging percentage (.641). In addition, he is hitting a home run every 7.67 at-bats, which is unsustainable, but highlights just how locked in he is.
For comparison, Aaron Judge hit one homer per 9.19 at-bats during his record-breaking 2022 season, and the next highest rate was Kyle Schwarber, who hit one every 12.54 at-bats.
“I think it’s a combo,” Roberts replied when asked if Muncy is on a hot streak or if this is who he is.
“I think Max is going well, but his mechanics are right, he’s in a good headspace and I think his valuing of getting a hit when you need to get a hit, and not just slugging, I think that’s embedded in him now.
“He homered his last at-bat, but I think that was the last thing on his mind. He took a nice, short swing on a fastball that was 90-something miles an hour. If he can do that, that should be what we get going forward.”
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