The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t exactly have a rich history in the Home Run Derby, but they have an established track record that Max Muncy gets to join Monday. This year’s event is the fifth in a row the Dodgers have a had a participant.
Overall, Muncy is the Dodgers’ 10th player (12 appearances) to take his swings in the Derby. However, unlike the four before him — Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger — Muncy doesn’t have the same prospect background.
He nonetheless has been instrumental to the Dodgers’ success thus far. Muncy leads the team in home runs (22) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.013).
The 27-year-old faces the never-ending question as to what negative impact participating in the Home Run Derby can have on his swing. While the topic can be polarizing, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has encouraged his players to partake in the annual event.
For his part, Muncy isn’t worried about potentially falling victim to the cliché, in part because he doesn’t plan on changing his approach or swing, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“I’m not gonna try to hit home runs,” Muncy said. “I’m going to try to get underneath the ball with a regular swing. If I do that, I’ll have a good chance of hitting some home runs. If I try to hit them, I’m gonna be on top of the ball.
“Some people think it can be bad for guys because they completely change their swing,” Muncy said. “But for me, the swings are going to stay the same.”
While Muncy leads the team in home runs, he’s only hitting them at a clip of one per 10.23 at-bats. Considering how steady Muncy has been in games thus far, there isn’t reason to believe he’ll be thrown off course by the Home Run Derby.
And if he’s able to win the event, it would put a feather in Muncy’s cap and the Dodgers as well, as they’ve yet to have a Derby champion.
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