Max Muncy’s 2020 season was one of patience, in many ways.
He was hit by a pitch on his left ring finger early in summer camp during an intrasquad game, later revealed to be a fracture. Muncy hit two home runs in the second game of the season, but his start to the season was still slow. Through August 20, almost halfway through the season, he was hitting .168/.292/.379.
The batting average never fully recovered, as Muncy hit .192, but also saw a slugging drought. Despite hitting 12 home run, his .197 isolated power was his lowest since joining the Dodgers, after a .289 ISO in 2018-19 combined that ranked third in the majors.
Then again, MLB as a whole hit .245 in 2020, down seven points from 2019, and the lowest mark in 48 years. So even with Muncy’s relative down year, his relative offensive contributions were essentially league average, with a 100 wRC+.
The bulk of Muncy’s time came at first base, with 31 starts, but he also made double-digit starts at third base (14) and second base (11). Ryan McMahon of the Rockies was the only major leaguer with 10 starts at all three positions in 2020.
Dave Roberts stuck with Muncy throughout the season, citing his at-bat quality, and Muncy led the Dodgers in games (58) and plate appearances (248). Muncy was fourth in the majors in pitches per plate appearances (4.43) during the regular season, and was even better in October.
Muncy batted fourth and played every defensive inning in all 18 postseason games, and his bat came alive. He hit .250/.438/.467 with three home runs and 14 RBI, his wRC+ climbing all the way to 155. He averaged 4.61 pitches per PA during the postseason, including an amazing 26 of his 80 plate appearances reaching a full count.
Muncy’s 20 walks were the second-most in any single postseason, topped only by the superhuman 2002 run by Barry Bonds, who walked 27 times, including 13 times intentionally. Muncy tied Gary Sheffield (1997) for the most unintentional walks in a single postseason.
Factoring in the postseason, Muncy hit .205/.357/.407 in 70 games, which is a little more pleasing to the eye than his regular season line.
Stats: .192/.331/.389, 100 wRC+, 12 HR, 0.4 WAR
Salary: $5.5 million (includes $4.5 million signing bonus)
Game of the year
During the World Series, Muncy was even better, hitting .318/.444/.500 with six RBI. We’ll go here with Game 5 against Tampa Bay, one of three multi-hit games during the series for Muncy. With runs at a premium in this one, Muncy was 2-for-3 with a walk, and a solo home run in the fifth inning that provided insurance for Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, leading to a two-run win.
The 434-foot blast provided one of the best single shots of the postseason (used as the lead image of this post).
Muncy has two years remaining on his three-year, $26 million contract, and will make $7.5 million in 2021. He has a club option for 2023.