Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Remains Confident In Max Muncy’s Defense

The Los Angeles Dodgers settling for a split of the Seoul Series saw Yoshinobu Yamamoto struggle in his MLB debut and some of Max Muncy’s defensive woes at third base resurface.

The Dodgers suffered a series of defensive mishaps early in the contest, leading to long innings for pitchers. In the first, Muncy misplayed a hard grounder down the third-base line, allowing a run to score.

In the third inning, Muncy couldn’t field a chopper, deflecting it and squandering an inning-ending double play opportunity.

Although the plays were a reminder of Muncy’s struggles at third base over recent seasons, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t yet raise significant concern.

“He’s worked his tail off with the physical part of it,” Roberts said after the loss. “Coming in early, getting a routine down, working with Dino (Ebel) on just being a much better defender than he was last year. I don’t think tonight was indicative of what’s going to happen going forward, but obviously there’s plays that need to be made, for sure.”

Muncy hasn’t been a stellar defender in his Dodgers career, but a shift in positioning around the infield may have something to do with being uneasy.

Muncy worked with a smaller glove during the offseason in hopes that it would help in hand positioning when fielding the baseball. That extra practice hasn’t fully shown itself, albeit in just two games and there were instances during Spring Training where Muncy appeared improved at third base.

There aren’t likely to be plans to remedy the position with a better defensive option, and the Dodgers have faith in Muncy, evidenced in the contract extension he received in November.

Does Max Muncy’s offense outweigh defense?

Muncy isn’t the ideal defensive third baseman but his projected offensive stats are what will have to continue being where there is value for the Dodgers.

Having a career 124 wRC+ with the understanding that he’ll have enough slug to push runs across is where the Dodgers feel comfortable in relying on Muncy at third base every day.

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