Max Muncy: Does He Replace Brandon Moss At First Base For The Athletics?
After the massive trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in which the Oakland Athletics shipped top prospects Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily, the A’s core of future assets stands depleted. This makes players including current Midland Rockhound Max Muncy more important to the health of the organization. Post trade, Oakland will count on lesser-known prospects to develop into major league players including the left-handed hitting first baseman. Does Muncy have what it takes to become a key cog on future Athletics contenders?
Video by Kate Morrison
At 6-feet-0, 205-pounds, Max Muncy is out of shape, holding 10-15 pounds of bad weight. He needs to trim down the unnecessary pounds as they negatively affect his base running speed and range in the field. The former 5th round pick possesses a body similar to Evan Gattis with room to add plenty of strength.
The hit tool is lacking. Average bat speed, a swing with an excessive uppercut, and poor pitch recognition means a high batting average is not in Muncy’s future. In a look against top-100 pitching prospect Luke Jackson (Scouting Report), the first base prospect was over matched. Late on mid-90s fastballs and out in front on off-speed pitches, Muncy missed curveballs badly. The top-20 Oakland prospect will need to work on spraying the ball to all fields. Currently a pull hitter, defensive shifts will be utilized against him to minimize offensive damage.
The former Baylor Bear’s best raw tool is power. However, in-game power lags behind. With a natural uppercut in his swing, the 23-year-old hits plenty of fly balls, but lacks the strength and bat-to-ball skills to drive them out of the ballpark against live pitching. This explains why the first base prospect has left the yard just seven times this season. Of qualified first baseman at the Major League level, the top-20 have 13 or more home runs at this juncture. For Muncy to make a difference, the power has to play. If he commits himself to the weight room, Max Muncy can develop MLB average power with all of it being to the pull side.
While power is his best tool, plate discipline carries the offensive profile. Despite questionable pitch recognition, the former Indians 41st-round pick is able to lay off pitches out of the zone. Plate discipline helps compensate for an uninspiring hit tool and can guide him to a MLB job regardless. This ability is backed up by his current 16.6% BB-rate, fueling an OBP of .381 in Double-A. Of course walks tend to dry up a the MLB level — especially if opposing pitchers need not respect the players ability to drive the baseball. Muncy’s big league future will be dictated by how well he keeps pitchers honest.
Max Muncy’s base running ability is poor. The base clogger is slow and unable to to take the extra base, much less steal one. This lack of speed also negatively affects him in the field, where his range is shaky. Muncy is not a natural receiver at first base, with hard hands leading to difficulty with easy picks. A below average arm limits his projection at positions beyond first base. He has played some third base in the past, but will be unable to effectively man the position.
Players with Muncy’s profile have to rake and the Athletics prospect doesn’t. With Brandon Moss having two years of team control left, first base is not a pressing need, so the burly corner infielder will have the opportunity to continue developing at his own pace. Unfortunately, he’s still a bench bat in the end.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Second Division 1B/DH, Bench Player Hitting Ability 30 40 Power 30 45 Speed 40 35 Fielding Ability 35 45 Arm 40 40
Owning Max Muncy
Muncy’s numbers leave him the quintessential Athletics player. Big walks and limited athleticism are a trademark of prospects who slip through the proverbial cracks. When Oakland continues to hit on mid-level prospects and also rans who become quality MLB hitters, it’s difficult to doubt their ability to develop sluggers. For this reason, Max Muncy is worth a late stash in dynasty fantasy baseball leagues where 15-20 prospects are owned. Remember, it’s always great to sell out for ceiling, but when most prospects fail, keeping a few upper level prospects with higher floors around serves as a strong backup plan.
27 Aug 2014 / Grant Schiller / 1
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