The Dodgers signed Max Muncy to a minor league contract on April 27, 2017, after the Oakland Athletics released the former 5th round selection in the 2012 Amateur Draft. A former star at Baylor University, Muncy struggled to catch on in the big leagues and spend most of his professional career in the minor leagues.
According to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, Muncy strongly considered giving up his dream of making it as a big leaguer before a few tips from his father helped fix holes in his swing and resurrect his career. Not only did Muncy revive his career, but he also helped the Dodgers overcome a slow start and regain their spot as the team to beat in the NL West.
Through 66 games and 244 plate appearances in 2018, Muncy owns an impressive 1.027 OPS, with 20 home runs and 38 RBI. In addition to above average power at the plate, the stalky first baseman has 46 walks. According to a quote from Brown’s piece, one scout said that Muncy’s plate discipline is one of the best in the league, an impressive feat considering Muncy appeared lost in his two seasons with the A’s, with five home runs in 96 games and a sub-Mendoza line batting average.
In a season in which Corey Seager is out with a knee injury, and Justin Turner missed most of the first half with a broken wrist, Muncy has been a revelation for manager Dave Roberts, and a primary reason why the Dodgers trail the NL West-leading Diamondbacks at the midpoint of the season.
Despite only 196 at-bats, Muncy leads the team with 20 home runs and 46 walks and is fourth on the team in runs batted in behind Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal, and Cody Bellinger.
Championship caliber teams always seem to find a spark from an unlucky player, especially when studs like Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger are not playing up to their level from a season ago. In the case of the Dodgers in 2018 that spark is Muncy, and like Bellinger in 2017, the power-hitting lefty could lead Los Angeles to another World Series run.