Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2017, Max Muncy has developed into an elite first baseman.
The 31-year-old was ranked among the top 10 players at his position heading into the 2022 season by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney amassed his annual list by receiving input from evaluators and others around baseball.
Muncy was ranked No. 7, which is behind Atlanta Braves free agent Freddie Freeman (No. 1), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Pete Alonso of the New York Mets.
Rounding out the top 10 are Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, and Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants. Honorable mentions include Jared Walsh (L.A. Angels), Anthony Rizzo (free agent), Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies) and Ty France (Seattle Mariners).
Muncy got off to a slow start last season and wound up enduring an uneven year. A hot month of May was followed by more struggles in June, then another peak in July. He hit another valley in August and saw marginal improvement in September before sustaining a season-ending left elbow injury on the final day of the regular season.
In 144 games, Muncy batted .249/.368/.527 with 26 doubles, 36 home runs and 94 RBI over 592 plate appearances en route to a 10th place finish in National League MVP voting. After the season, he was named a finalist for a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger but did not win either of them.
Muncy slowly recovering
During a recent interview, Muncy revealed the full extent of his left elbow injury included tearing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). He also admitted the recovery process was advancing slower than anticipated but remained hopeful of being ready in time for Spring Training.
Of course, Muncy could ultimately be aided by MLB and the Players Association not yet making progress in collective bargaining negotiations.
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