2022 Los Angeles Angels Player Reviews: Max Muncy

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

In his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Muncy hadn’t dealt with as much of a rollercoaster season as he endured during throughout 2022. Following a season in which he finished within the top 10 in MVP voting, Muncy struggled to regain a consistent feel in the batter’s box.

From 2018 to 2021, Muncy batted .246/.371/.520 with 118 home runs, 298 RBI, 15.2% walk rate and 138 wRC+. The Dodgers transformed him into one of baseball’s most feared, relied-upon power hitters.

However, the residual effects of the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his non-throwing elbow were quite apparent, and Muncy’s struggles during the first half of 2022 were noticeably uncharacteristic.

Muncy posted a .639 on-base plus slugging percentage during that span, headlined by a .164 batting average. His ability to maintain strike zone awareness was present, but making meaningful contact wasn’t in the cards.

Muncy flipped a switch when the calendar turned to August, he posted a .858 OPS and 143 wRC+, which signaled he began to find usual old rhythm. He credited some mechanical adjustments made to his swing which incorporated a small backstep as a pitch was being thrown as a driving force for the turnaround.

The Dodgers and Muncy agreed to a contract extension for one-year and $13.5 million, which includes a $10 million team option with incentives for the 2024 season. Although the first half of 2022 was about as poor as it could get from an impact standpoint, the team banked on Muncy’s consistency and rewarded him with a new deal.

Max Muncy 2022 highlight

One memorable moment for Muncy came when Trea Turner was intentionally walked despite being in a 1-2 count. Muncy made Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa pay for the decision by promptly following with a three-run home run.

On Sept. 6 against the San Francisco Giants, Muncy tallied three extra-base hits, including two home runs and a double, leading the Dodgers to a 6-3 win. He narrowly missed a third homer, flying out to right-center field in the bottom of the eighth on a hanging splitter.

2023 outlook

His cumulative 106 wRC+ over the course of last season isn’t representative of him as a hitter, and once he regained his footing, Muncy flashed the same stuff the Dodgers and their fans expect from their hidden slugger. With MLB implementing a limit on how teams can deploy defensive shifts, Muncy could see an uptick in production that is still untapped.

Muncy was shifted on 89% of the time in 2022, the 22nd-highest rate among all players, according to Baseball Savant. Couple Muncy’s ability to pull the ball into short right field and his elite zone awareness, he could be headed for another step forward.

Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!