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In the category of reclamation projects that became stars for the Los Angeles Dodgers, we present for your consideration Max Muncy.
Indeed in their All-Star first baseman, the Angelenos have a legitimate middle-of-the-order force who has gone from the proverbial outhouse to the penthouse in the space of five years and is now a big reason why the team is likely headed for another postseason appearance.
Selected in the fifth round by the Oakland A’s in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Dallas-area native put up solid numbers in the A’s system before being called up to the bigs in 2015. There, he floundered, hitting a combined .195 in 2015-16 with five home runs, 17 RBIs, a .290 on-base percentage and an unsightly .611 OPS in 96 games. After being designated for assignment just before the 2017 season, he was eventually released.
Signing a minor league deal with the Dodgers that year, he spent the season at Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League, retooled his swing and surfaced with the Dodgers in 2018 a different hitter. He hit 35 homers in his first full year in Chavez Ravine in only 395 at-bats, to go along with a .263 average, a .391 on-base percentage and an OPS of .973.
A similar output followed in 2019, when he made his first All-Star appearance. His numbers fell off precipitously in the pandemic-abbreviated year of 2020, one that hurt a lot of players. But he’s returned to his customary level of play this season, through mid-August hitting .272 with 25 homers, 69 RBIs, a .402 on-base percentage and a .952 OPS. He also earned his second All-Star berth.
Muncy and the Dodgers can be seen in action Sunday, Sept. 5, when they conclude a three-game series in San Francisco against the NL West rival Giants in a game airing on ESPN.
Full name: Maxwell Steven Muncy
Birth date: Aug. 25, 1990
Birthplace: Midland, Texas
Height/weight: 6 feet/215 pounds
Teams: Oakland A’s (2015-17); Los Angeles Dodgers (2018-present)
Position: First base
Honors and achievements: Two-time All-Star (2019, 2021); 2020 World Series champion; chosen twice to the All-Big 12 Conference team