The Los Angeles Dodgers have found a number of diamonds in the rough in recent years, with key players like Justin Turner and Chris Taylor unexpectedly developing into stars after struggling in other organizations.
Another example of that is Max Muncy, who finds a spot in ESPN’s Buster Olney’s ranking of the top 10 second basemen for the 2020 season. Olney amasses his annual list by receiving input from evaluators and others around baseball.
New York Yankees star D.J. LeMahieu, who the Dodgers were linked to in free agency a year ago, tops the list, followed by Jose Altuve at No. 2 and Muncy at third. Ozzie Albies and Kolten Wong then round out the top five.
The second half of the rankings consist of David Fletcher, Keston Hiura, Jonathan Villar, Jean Segura and Brandon Lowe, in that order.
Muncy was a breakout star for the Dodgers in 2018, primarily playing first base. The biggest question surrounding him was whether he would be able to replicate that performance in 2019, and he was able to do exactly that.
In 141 games for the Dodgers during the regular season last year, Muncy hit .251/.374/.515 with 22 doubles, 35 home runs, 101 runs scored and 98 RBI. All of those stats were career highs, except for the home runs which tied Muncy’s output from 2018.
The 29-year-old was also great for L.A. in the postseason, batting .263/.391/.737 with three home runs and seven RBI in five games in the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals.
Muncy is not known for his defense, but he demonstrated tremendous versatility by playing three different positions at a high level in 2019. He had three defensive runs saved in 402.2 innings at first base, five DRS in 520.1 innings at second and five DRS in 234.1 innings at first.
It is unclear where Muncy will play in 2020, but he certainly proved he is capable of being an everyday second baseman and could remain there if the team decides to move Turner to first.
One other option for the Dodgers at second base is top prospect Gavin Lux. He did not make Olney’s top 10 list, but he was in the “best of the rest” section after an outstanding 2019 season.
Lux hit a combined .347/.421/.607 with 25 doubles, 26 home runs 99 runs scored and 76 RBI in 113 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City before earning a promotion to the big leagues. He then slashed .240/.305/.400 with a pair of home runs in 23 games for the Dodgers, eventually making the NLDS roster and homering in his first career postseason at-bat.
The second base position has seemingly been a revolving door for the Dodgers over the last decade, yet they have solid options for that position going into 2020.
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