Dodgers News: Max Muncy Has ‘Always Loved’ Playing Second Base

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Although Max Muncy is considered one of the best first basemen in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star has noted versatility.

Muncy has played 134 games at second base and 96 at third base since the organization promoted him from Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2018. That flexibility proved key for the Dodgers as they looked to upgrade their roster once the MLB lockout ended.

After months of being heavily connected to Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers signed the Southern California native to a six-year, $162 million contract. Freeman of course is penciled in to be the Dodgers’ everyday starter at first base.

Prior to the signing, Muncy expressed his willingness to change positions, especially if it was for Freeman. For Muncy it was more than just being open to changing positions.

He genuinely enjoys playing second base, which should help make the transition into a full-time job there even easier, via “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:

“I’ve always loved second base. Growing up, I played a lot of second. I just think my actions are the best at second, I read the balls best at second, I make my best plays at second. Obviously I may not be your prototypical second baseman, but I think I would surprise you if you were to look at some of the things that go into it. Maybe I don’t look like I’m getting to a lot of balls, but I’m actually getting to more than you would think. It’s just one of those things that I’ve always enjoyed second.”

Last year, Muncy’s seven outs above average at first was nine better than his -2 rating at second base.

However, he had one defensive run saved every 127 innings at second as opposed to one every 150.2 innings at first base, and his UZR/150 up the middle was 9.8 versus a 6.3 rating at first.

It is also reasonable to assume Muncy could continue to improve at second base with more time there. From 2018-20, Muncy was statistically a below-average to average defender at first base and in 2021 he should have won a Gold Glove:

“I’ve had to work at everything on defense. Every year I feel like I get a lot better at defense. I’ve had a lot of great coaches over the years that have taught me a lot of great things and I try to take that into my work every single day. I still have a lot to learn to get a lot better, and I plan on doing that.”

But even if Muncy doesn’t improve as a second baseman, he is still good enough at the position where the Dodgers wouldn’t be hurt by his defense.

Even with just average defense, the Dodgers would have the best second baseman in the sport because of his offensive production.

Muncy feeling healthy

On top of needing to settle in at second base, Muncy has used Spring Training to further test his health after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and other damage to his left elbow last year.

Muncy recently said his bigger focus was on ironing out swing mechanics rather than having any lingering concern over the state of the elbow.

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