Max Muncy Goes From Spring Training “Who?” to World Series Hero

Max Muncy wasn’t always a Dodger. He once wore Oakland gold and green, until they dumped him during Spring Training in 2017. The wolf pup was unemployed, but fate stepped in. The Dodgers saw something in Muncy, and they signed him to play for their AAA club in Oklahoma City, where he would later be joined by Walker Buehler.

Muncy got a chance to mix with the big club in Spring Training 2018. That’s when he first caught my eye. The Dodgers played Muncy at first base, where he made a few impressive defensive plays while flashing cat-like reflexes. At the dish, he showed the potential to be a power hitter, and enough speed on the basepaths to be that guy who turns doubles into triples.

Here’s a video I made during the season documenting LADR’s spotting and championing of the young wolf during Spring Training:

Whenever the Dodgers made ST cuts, I scanned the reports, hoping the young wolf was still with the squad. He was.

Muncy began the 2018 season back in Oklahoma City, and here’s where the connection to Buehler, OKC, and the World Series takes a Twilight Zone twist.

According to a tweet by @SlangsOnSports:

 

Both Muncy and Buehler were called up with the big club, and they both hit the ground running. Muncy went from hitting warning track doubles in Spring Training to home runs at Chavez Ravine. His red-hot star rose far enough to earn a spot in the All Star Game’s Home Run Derby. He hit an amazing 17 homers in the first round and 12 in the second, falling just short of derby winner, Bryce Harper.

He cooled off a bit after the All Star break, and chatter arose that he was just a flash in the pan, and he would fade as the summer wore on. Muncy found his groove again, and he bounced back, endinghis season as the biggest home run bat in the Dodgers’ lineup with 35 blasts, and a .263/.391/.582 slash line. He also hit two home runs in the NLDS.

After starting the first two games of the World Series on the bench (?!?!?!), Muncy was granted his first start in Game 3. He ended up being the difference-maker… twice.

Losing 2-1, in the bottom of the 13th inning, the Dodgers sent Muncy to the plate, and he earned a walk. Cody Bellinger popped one up along the third base seats, which Eduardo Nunez caught. When Nunez tumbled over the rail and into the stands, Muncy smartly took second base. He was in scoring position.

Yasiel Puig sent a hot shot up the middle, but Ian Kinsler threw the ball wide of first. The ball scooted toward the stands, and Muncy used that doubles-into-triples speed to score the tying run.

Muncy later missed hitting a game-winning home run off Nathan Eovaldi when his deep fly ball hooked late and went into the stands. He got a second chance against Eovaldi in the bottom of the 18th, and this time the wolf made sure that foul poles would not be a factor.

“I got 3-0 and he was able to work back two strikes, full count,’’ Muncy said. “The at-bat before, he had got me on a really good backdoor cutter. He had really good stuff all night long and he wasn’t missing a spot. Next at-bat he tried to go backdoor cutter again, but he left this one a little over the plate, and thankfully for me he did that, because I was able to get my bat to it.’’ – Max Muncy

Max Muncy has gone from the basement to the penthouse, where his legend now sits beside fellow Dodgers World Series walkoff home run hitter, Kirk Gibson. Not bad company.

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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35 thoughts on “Max Muncy Goes From Spring Training “Who?” to World Series Hero

  1. Muncy did to that pitch what I have been preaching for most of the year. Take what the pitcher gives you and go the opposite way. The left side of the field is always open. None of these guys have been taking advantage of that. Lay down a bunt when the 3rd baseman is in the SS hole. Muncy’s blast carried into the left center stands. It was an outstanding at bat. They could learn a lot from David Freese because he is the one guy who is looking to just hit the ball where it is pitched.

    1. Don’t know if you saw this: In an earlier video I mentioned that I saw Roberts in an NLCS post game interview. He said they preach those approaches to the guys in their hitters meetings. Everyone nods their heads, and then when they get in the batters box, it’s all about swinging for the fences, just like all season.

      1. I have no doubt that is the case. One of the best was Mike Piazza. Not only did he go to the opposite field, he did so with power. Kemp did that a lot when he first came up. Bellinger has had some success doing that most notably against the Giants a couple of times, but he is still way too pull happy as is Grandal.

      2. I did not see that. I do know that one of the best at going the other way was Mike Piazza. And he did it with power.

  2. That was an interesting game. 2 managers trying see which one could more of a dumb ass than the other. I am shocked that Cora was able to out duel our resident moron Doc.

  3. Well, HIll might not be God but I would rather have had Hill pitching than Madson. Dummy taking out Hill was a terrible move . The only reason Hill walked his 1st man was because he had been on the bench for so long while Puig homered, then he got one out and could have continued but Dummy who is on an ego trip pulled him in favor of Alexander. Stupid, Stupid move by Dummy!!

  4. Putting in Kenley was a bone headed move by Dummy! He should have put in Baez. You know Dummy, he is dumb and stupid!!!!!!!!!! Ruined Hill’s gem.

    1. Package.

      I will keep this brief because this is not complicated. Yes, Kenley Jansen gave up a bunch of taters this year. But he is still the Dodgers’ best reliever. Every manager in baseball would have asked him for at least an inning tonight.

        1. Package

          Don’t listen to Bluto, he knows nothing about baseball!

          He only knows numbers like this front office!

          There is not a real baseball fan, that doesn’t think Roberts single handedly lost this game, and the World Series!

      1. Bluto

        Who in their right mind, would think Alexander and Madson were better options then Hill?

        Hill had only allowed one hit!

        The Red Sox biggest weakness is curves from lefties!

        Alexander and Madson are clowns!

        Alexander almost single handedly lost last night’s game!

        Madson before tonight, had already allowed 9 inherited runners to score!

        His count is up to eleven now!

        Roberts single handedly lost this game, and he hasn’t stopped making moves!

  5. Package proving that he may be the dummy!
    Seriously, the 8th was a 1,000,000x better use of a top pitcher than the 9th. Did you see who was AB?
    That said, the Madsen move is truly head-scratching. And I’m not sure about this move to Maeda.

    1. Bluto

      Your the only one here that has your head so far up this front offices A, that you can’t recognize how Roberts gave this game away!

      This game and this World Series, is on Roberts!

    2. Bluto
      That’s right Bluto. Make it personal. Calling me names will not fix the real Dummy! Why don’t you go back under your rock?

      1. That was meant to be a play on your repeated phrase usage! Obviously I don’t know you, so I would want to call you a dummy.

        Not one of Roberts’ better games indeed. I don’t mind nor question the Jansen usage, but the rest was cringe-worthy.

        It is nice to have MJ back.

        1. Check Jansen’s world series record. He has done this quite a bit, and in a game like tonight’s was, you cannot give up a game tying homer for the second night in a row. Had he done his job last night and tonight, they would be tied instead of down 3-1. Which is a hole no team has ever climbed out of in world series history. It could all be over tomorrow, or not depending on the offense and Kershaw. Tomorrow may very well be Kersh’s last game as a Dodger.

  6. Well, another stupid move by Dummy. He puts in Maeda instead of say Baez or someone else. He is an idiot. He has shown his stupidity in this World Series.

  7. The Dodgers are going to lose this World Series because of Dave Roberts micro managing. There is not a fan out there who can watch what transpired tonight and not think that. Jansen may be one of the best closers in the majors but, in a little over 10 innings in the world series he has given up 4 home runs, 3 of which tied the game. He has 2 saves and 3 blown saves and 1 loss in the series. Yes, those saves were last year as is one of the blown saves. So was the loss. I have no idea why he has such a bad time in the series, but his cutter has been left hanging right in the middle of the plate, and he hung one to Pearce. Hill was charged with 1 run, but the onus tonight is on the pen. The Sox scored 8 runs off of the pen. Maeda allowed all the inherited runners to score, Madson has allowed 7 inherited runners to score in the series. Last year Rich Hill took a no hitter into the 10th inning eventually losing. Why Roberts pulled him after 6.1 and only giving up one hit in that time is mind boggling. His bullpen pitched 8 innings last night and Jansen pitched 2 of those, he should have just let Hill go as far as he could. Of course we are saying all this after the fact, but Roberts has done this kind of thing all year. It is just a lousy way to manage a team. Kershaw is pitching tomorrow against Sale. I think this team is demoralized after this one because they should have won. I am not going to watch what most likely will be the last game of the series unless CK really pitches his ass off. As for Roberts, I know he is going to get a new contract from the owners, but I really wish he would not. Another thing about Jansen. His ERA jumped up over a run this year. He gave up double digit homers for the first time in his career. Therefore I assess that Kenley Jansen is not nearly as dominant as he was two years ago. He has become quite hittable and he rarely has a clean inning anymore.

    1. Michael

      I said this before Hill was even taken out.

      Why would Roberts bring those two clowns in this game anyways?

      Madson had already allowed 9 runners he inherited score, in the first two games of this World Series.

      And Alexander always comes in, and gives a free base to a hitter.

      He almost lost that game last night, all by himself.

      Baez has been our best reliever, he could have pitched the 8th.

      And Kenley is ok with a four run lead for the ninth.

      1. You were right. Jansen with a 4 run lead would have been fine, but he had only 1 and that was a direct result of Roberts micro managing the top of the 7th. Madson has been abysmal.

  8. Package

    We had this game!

    Hill was more capable then any of those clowns down in the bullpen.

    Alexander comes into almost every game, and walks a hitter, then brings a cloud to every game he comes into.

    He almost lost last night’s game all by himself!

    Madson has now allowed 11 runners to score, that he has inherited in the World Series alone!

    Hill only had to get two outs, and he would have.

    And anyways Baez should have been the first reliever brought in this game.

    Madson blamed the cold weather in Boston, after he allowed both Kershaw’s, and Ryu’s runners score, after he came in.

    All he had to get was one out for Ryu, but every runner scored that night, just like the night before!

    Why was Baez still sitting on the bench again tonight?

    This front office and Roberts don’t know how to manage a game.

    Roberts only needed to make two moves, with our best relievers, Baez, and Kenley in the ninth.

  9. I agree with a lot of MJ here. I’m higher on Alexander and I don’t know if Baez was available, but Roberts’ blame is not the end.

    The players are at fault, and you can revisit the tradition deadline and the non-attention paid to the pen. Although the budget limitations are in play.

  10. MJ
    Right on target again MJ. I cannot believe how many times I have been critisized for calling Roberts Dummy? When that is exactly what he is and I am not taking it anymore. If someone does not like me calling Roberts Dummy, to bad. I call em the way I see em. They may not like how I give it back to them. Dummy has cost the good folks of LA a WS championship and the FO and Dummy deserve an apology. Please stick around MJ.

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