In recent seasons, it has become customary for the Los Angeles Dodgers to receive contributions from players that had previously been overlooked by other organizations.
That was no different in 2018 with the emergence of Max Muncy, who went on to enjoy a breakout year at the plate. In 137 games during the regular season, the 28-year-old hit .263/.391/.582 with 17 doubles, 35 home runs and 79 RBI over 481 opportunities.
With that performance, Muncy earned Texas Professional Player of the Year honors. He was presented the award by former Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward.
Looking ahead to 2019, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts fully expects Muncy to factor prominently into the club’s plans again — albeit with a few tweaks that have to be made. “There’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment,” Roberts admitted.
“Against a lefty, last year in the second half, he really curtailed. But, talked to him a couple weeks ago, he’s in great shape.
“He’s a very intelligent baseball player, he knows the strike zone, so to bet on him having a follow-up season like that, I think is a fair ask. His ability to differentiate between strike and ball is a big plus.”
As Roberts notes, Muncy struggled a bit against southpaws during the second half of the regular season. But as a whole, he thrived when facing left-handed pitching to the tune of a .255/.361/.529 slash line across 119 plate appearances.
Perhaps most underrated about Muncy’s success was his ability to get on base. That was due to his outstanding walk rate of 16.4 percent. He drew 79 walks for the season and was among the league leaders in total pitches seen per plate appearance.
Should Muncy be able to replicate that kind of discipline in 2019, he’ll quickly prove that his breakout campaign from a year ago wasn’t a fluke.