One of the biggest surprises in all of Major League Baseball this season has been the unexpected rise of Max Muncy and his importance to the Los Angeles.
Muncy, a non-roster invitee in Spring Training, began the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City and appeared in nine games before his call-up in April to serve as insurance at third base in the absence of Justin Turner.
What was expected to be a brief stay in the Majors turned into Muncy establishing him into one of the Dodgers’ most productive hitters. The 27-year-old immediately provided a spark in the lineup and later earned a regular role at his natural first base position.
Now two months into the season, Muncy credits his work ethic for helping him transform into a better player with the Dodgers than he was with the Oakland Athletics, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“When I was in Oakland, they did give me a little bit of a chance,” he said. “I wasn’t quite the same player, mentally. The swing wasn’t really the same, either. Right now, I’m seeing the rewards of putting in hard work, and seeing what that does.”
From 2015-16 with the Athletics, Muncy compiled a .195/.290/.321 (70 OPS+) slash line with only 10 doubles, five home runs and 17 RBI across 245 plate appearances. He was released from the organization last season and soon caught on with the Dodgers.
With Los Angeles, Muncy has nearly trumped his career statistics in the span of two months. In 44 games since his promotion, he is batting .272/.395/.616 (175 OPS+) with seven doubles, a team-leading 12 home runs and 28 RBI over 152 trips to the plate.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently compared Muncy’s breakout season to Chris Taylor from a season ago, as both players tinkered with their swings to emerge as key building blocks at the top of the lineup.
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