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Max Muncie got his groove on again

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Gary A Vasquez – USA Today Sports

In the final game of the 2021 regular season, Max Muncie He injured his left elbow after a collision With Jess Peterson Muncie also tried to catch a pitcher as Peterson was running across first base. It cost Muncy all of the 2021 post-season and in November of 2021 we learned that Muncy’s injury was Indeed the UCL is torn Which many feared when it happened. We learned in January of 2022 He will not need surgeryHowever, there have been concerns about how this will at least affect the start of his 2022 season.

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As he was getting through the spring and was ready for Opening Day, it was evident early on that the elbow was still bothering him. He hit a ruthless .136/.313/.273 in 83 plate appearances in April, and while it was reasonable to believe that the .149 BABIP would dip back toward the .256 mark, there is still trouble brewing. It wouldn’t get much better in the following months with .595 OPS in May, .675 in June, and .597 in July, all with 200 AVGs and only 9 HR in the .339 PA. With a .150/.327/.263 streak only through May 25, Muncy hit IL. he He didn’t want to blame his elbow for his struggle, but I mean… come on, it was elbow. He finally did Acknowledge that he rushed back from infection and it should have taken some time.

Muncie came back from injury with a 2-for-5 game that included a double, a homer, and 5 RBIs. he is back!! Not so fast, my friend (shouts to Corso)! June was his best month yet as I mentioned above with .675 OPS, but clearly still a far cry from the star power hitter he developed with the Dodgers (.890 OPS in 1910 PA as they come into 2022). He would only hit 2 more with a . 601 OPS in his remaining 72 June PA.

Throughout all of these struggles, there were elements of his game that hinted at old Muncy. Its barrel rating of 12% was the 28th among 168 shooters with at least 300 PA. It still held 17% BB, second only to it Juan Soto, and his K rate of 25% was just one point north of his career mark in 2022. The status quo just wasn’t working, though. His elbow was feeling better, but the results weren’t there.

Even a trip to Colorado.

As Fabian Ardaya explained, A mid-August piece at The Athletic ($), Muncy made a mechanical change that involved him literally taking a step back to better position himself with pitch backs which you can see in this video posted by Chad Moriyama:

He had struck in 3 of Colorado’s 4 games to finish July before a stellar August (.906 OPS) and a strong September (.813) that saw him hit 12 HR with 38 RBI and 31 R in 244 PA – a full season pace of 34 HR/ 108 RBI/88 R. The Dodgers were 1-and-done in the playoffs but not because of Muncy, who stayed hot with a .286/.375/.571 streak including a homer and a double among his 4 hits in the series against the Padres.

Muncy’s StatCast Energy Meters

Date events EV maxEV the barrel% powerful hit%
April – Christmas 193 88.9 111.2 20.7 12% 40%
August-October 136 92.3 109.7 21.2 15% 51%
2018-2021 1131 90.2 112.3 15.6 14% 44%

Under the hood, Muncy saw his exit speed jump over 3 mph from 88.9 to 92.3, consolidating a two-point jump in barrel rate to 15% that was good on August-September 12 (minimum 200 PA). Unsurprisingly, given the other two factors mentioned, his vulnerability to severe injury rose 10 points to 51%, ranking 15th, but tied for eighth when rounding and accounting for relationships. These three metrics have quite a bit of overlap and are basically multiple ways of saying he was crushing the ball. Muncy got his groove back, but it may not have been noticed by those who didn’t have their own fantasy team at the time because his season streak remains uninspired at just .196/.329/.384 with 21 HR in 565 PA. . Hey, it’s hard to work a bad four months off the bottom line!

Muncy is going pretty reasonably priced in the winter drafts, sitting at the 149th pick in eight Draft Champions tournaments (15 teams, 50 round draft and hold) since the new year in NFBC. This makes him 9 3B (he also qualifies at 2B) off the plate and awarded Lack of depth in the hot corner (Definitely read this piece from Jeff) This sounds like a bargain. I’d love for Muncy to get back to his ways in 30 HR with plenty of runs and RBIs in the Dodgers lineup. It averaged 35 hours per year in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and it only needs 554 human hours to do so. As long as the elbow injury doesn’t flare up again, I see no reason he can’t again be a powerhouse nail in 3B or 2B. Muncy is an eighth ranked 3B with .245 AVG, 33 HR, 88 R, 91 RBI, and 2 SB (those steals are a key!!!) While that’s only one position differential, the current eighth-ranked 3B – Gunnar Henderson – is 56 picks ahead of Muncy, so I’m still a bit above the market. I wouldn’t take it unnecessarily early, but if Muncy’s price starts to go up, I’ll beat the minimum pick of 139 he currently has in those eight leagues since January 1st.

How do you feel about Muncy and 3B in general? Are you trying to secure a button or are you willing to bump into the precarious middle class?

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