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Dodgers: The Home Run Derby and Max Muncy’s Swing

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Aug 2, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy (13) hits a double against the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps you are like me, and you are not a believer in the home run derby being a second-half killer. While I don’t really think the home run derby is useful or even entertaining, I also get why it exists. But no, I have never worried about a player’s swing after participating. Even when a Dodgers player has decided to participate. Max Muncy’s second-half slump does not do well for my opinions though.

Just a few short weeks ago, Max Muncy was one of the first-half saviors for the Dodgers. He went into the All-Star break on top of the world and has fallen back to earth since then.

Muncy was hitting .271 before he participated in the home run derby. He had 22 home runs and had driven in 41 runs to go along with his .409 on-base percentage. He was doing so well, that many felt he should have been in the All-Star game itself. Things have been different since then.

In the second half, Muncy is hitting .192 with just two home runs and eight runs driven in. He is also getting on base at an incredibly low .283 mark. So not only is he not hitting, he is also not walking anymore.

Muncy walked 52 times in the first half or roughly 19 percent of all plate appearances. he has walked just five times in the second half, equating to a walk percentage of less than nine percent. His strikeouts have not exactly helped him out either. He is striking out in nearly 42 percent of his at-bats. A terribly high rate.

Analysis

Whether or not the home run derby changes your swing, I can’t really answer. But I do know that Max Muncy is not the same player he was just a few short weeks ago. For future reference, perhaps Dodgers players should avoid participating from now on. Just to be safe.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

3 Comments

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  1. The Home Run Derby is not the issue with most players. However, when it comes to young players in their first year of ball, it does have an affect on them psychologically.
    All of a sudden they are being recognized as home run hitters. Home run hitters, have to hit home runs. All this comes at the worse time in that pitchers are adjusting to what they are doing at the plate. This coupled with their desire to hit home runs makes it harder to adjust to what the pitchers are doing. Add in the fact that young players are not use to playing the longer MLB schedule and no wonder their is a second half slump.
    As for Matt Kemp. He is 36. Needs to rest up a bit.

    • Anyone that doesn’t think that the HR derby has long lasting effects on a player has never played the game at a high level. Just common sense alone is enough. Regardless, it’s not a coincidence that Joc’s swing has taken 2 years to return. Cody’s is still a mess, and now so is Muncy’s. It takes hours upon hours of training to develop the muscle memory to “perfect” your swing. A player will loose that when they swing 200 plus times as hard as they can trying to do nothing but pull the ball. There certainly is no set timetable for a hitter to regain it but when it takes years to find it, it’s not going to return over night I can assure you that. I get why the game has this competition because it makes $, but more players need to be smart enough like a Mike Trout and avoid the repercussions.

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