Los Angeles’ do-it-all guy Max Muncy continues to be a valuable fantasy asset for multiple reasons. Yes, offering multi-positional eligibility is excellent for lineup construction, but he provides solid power numbers. While his batted ball metrics have decreased over the years, the 30-year-old still offers plenty of pop and will [likely] hit in the middle-third of a powerful lineup. Most of his peripherals remained similar to recent years, providing optimism that his .192 batting average from 2020 is an outlier, and he should return to more normal marks (career .236 hitter) in 2021. I mean, his xBA of .235 indicates that as well, not to mention the fact his BABIP won’t be a measly .203 for a second straight season.

His O-Swing rate and contact rate improved slightly from recent years, which is a net positive. Staying in the zone is key, and continually making more contact will help continue to chip away at his strikeout rate. It’s dropped each of the last two years, while subsequently elevating his zone contact and overall contact rates.

His average exit velocity took a bit of a tumble in 2020, but he posted a similar barrel rate from the year prior. Because of this, his ISO took a massive tumble, and it wasn’t due to a decrease in home runs. Sure, that mark was down a bit, but if the ball didn’t go over the fence, there weren’t many other extra-base hits to his name. He had just four doubles in 2020. Four.

At least it was trending upwards as the season went on, right?

Additionally, his ground ball rate jumped to 44.1 percent, and his GB/FB ratio of 1.06 was his first year above 1.00 since 2016. His mark was skewed by a 1.28 GB/FB ratio in the second half of the season, compared to his mark of 0.89 in the first half. So, while the exit velocity was trending up, so were the ground balls, offsetting the potential production. Also, a few extra fly balls took away from his line drives, which could explain the reduction in doubles. His line drive rate of 13.8 percent isn’t ideal

The radial chart above highlights the balls that Muncy barreled in 2020. As you can see, a lot of pink, which is great, but not much else there. If Muncy barreled it up and hit it hard, it was more likely to sail over the fence, compared to allowing Muncy to get to second base.

Aside from the lack of extra-base hits for Muncy, his power profile remained above-average for the most part. His AB/HR mark has decreased each of the past two years, but his 16.9 AB/HR is still incredibly respectable. 

  • 2018: 11.3 AB/HR

  • 2019: 13.9 AB/HR

  • 2020: 16.9 AB/HR

Using his mark from 2020, if you parlay that over a full season of work, you come up with the following home run totals for Muncy.

  • 500 AB - 29.6 home runs

  • 550 AB - 32.5 home runs

  • 600 AB - 35.5 home runs

Furthermore, with eligibility at multiple positions, his power numbers can play up for you. If he hits 30 home runs this year, sure, that might not be dominant from a first baseman, but looking at the second base landscape, that might be pretty damn good!

Muncy was the 13th-most shifted against player in 2020, and you can see a heat map of defensive positioning when Muncy was up to bat this past season.

It’s smart, too, considering he’s posted a pull rate on ground balls of over 64 percent each of the past three years. Do you know what percentage of his ground balls have gone to the left side of the field the past three seasons? In 2018, just 8.8 percent. Just seven percent back in 2019, and 2020 was a career low at just 4.7 percent! He will continue to be shifted against and perhaps even more than last year’s 88.6 percent mark.

His multi-positional eligibility makes him an attractive fantasy option, but his production with the bat alongside that increases his value. At the time of writing, he’s the ninth first baseman, the ninth second baseman, and the 12th third-baseman off the board, per NFBC data. If I miss out on José Ramírez at second base, Muncy is a guy I’m looking to slide right in there, but of course, his versatility gives you some flexibility when setting your lineup. The 30-year-old infielder should be good for 30 home runs and a .245 batting average in 2021, with the potential for above average numbers in the runs and runs batted in categories, thanks to a loaded Los Angeles lineup.


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