First off, how great did Max Muncy perform for the Los Angeles Dodgers at second base in 2019? Without question, Muncy’s prowess up the middle was one of the pleasant surprises of the entire season in his second year as a Dodger.
Obviously everyone knows the guy can lay the lumber when at the plate. Now, ESPN has ranked Muncy the third overall second baseman in the game in a new article.
— Matt Marrone (@thebigm) January 6, 2020
Here’s what they have to say about Mad Max at the position.
It’s hard to overstate how much respect rival evaluators have for the Dodgers left-handed hitter; their words are similar to what has been said about Justin Turner. Intense plate appearances. Never gives in. Wholly focused. And while Muncy isn’t a gifted defender — his skill set isn’t really suited for any particular defensive position — he’s OK wherever Dave Roberts opts to play him on a given day. He could easily be listed among the first basemen, but most of his starts last year were at second base (62). He opened 42 games at first base and 26 at third. He was a plus-5 at third base, a plus-5 at second base and a plus-3 at first base.
According to the research of MLB.com’s Sarah Langs: Since 2003, the only other player to be at least plus-3 at three different infield positions in the same season was Bill Hall in 2004. That year, Hall was a plus-3 at third, a plus-3 at shortstop and a plus-5 at second.
Now, let’s run down the top 10 of ESPN’s list. While I guess I hold Muncy mentally in my top second baseman, I didn’t realize to some he is only behind D.J. Lemahieu and Jose Altuve overall at the position. Emphatically, that makes an impression on me.
- D.J. Lemahieu
- Jose Altuve
- Max Muncy
- Ozzie Albies
- Kolten Wong
- David Fletcher
- Keston Hiura
- Jonathan Villar
- Jean Segura
- Brandon Lowe
Obviously, what ESPN says about Muncy brings forward a key point. Perhaps the fact that he’s not suited to play any one particular position makes him the perfect Dodger. With the way the organization likes to mix and match based on data, Muncy arrived at the right time.
Finally, it’s remarkable to learn that Muncy was not only a plus-defender at second base; but also at first base and third base. The signs are everywhere that Los Angeles has a superstar player in Muncy; if you didn’t already consider him this.