Max Muncy will hit 30 HR with an average of .260 or greater in 2023

Funky Muncy (we can do better than that, right?) has weirdly become a fantasy favorite of mine in the past few seasons. If you have an idea how he performed in 2022, you might think I’m crazy. Sure, he was horrible in posting a .196 average in 565 plate appearances. However, he was only 4% worse than the league average per OPS+ (via Baseball Reference) and was battling an elbow injury for who knows how long.

Muncy is eligible at second base and third base. Obviously, this adds corner infield and middle infield as alternate roster slots as well. Positional flexibility is always a plus in the NFC format.

Outside of that, he is a Dodger, giving him a boost for the R and RBI categories, of which he had 69 (nice) each last year. Munce (like I said, we can do better, right?) barrels the ball in the 91st percentile while walking at the 4th best rate in MLB last year out of 252 batters via Baseball Savant. I’m guessing those two reasons are primarily why he was nearly a league-average hitter while sporting that sub .200 batting average.

One reason I think that batting average is due for a boon is the new shift rule in MLB. Banning the shift should give Muncy a boost in the BABIP department. It was just .227 last year with a career mark of .256. Tack on another say .020 or more BABIP due to the rule changes and suddenly we’re looking at around .276 BABIP for 2023. Add a little luck and it might just creep over .280.
In 2019 he posted a .286 BABIP to go with a .251 average. I’d say this makes it a bold call since he really shouldn’t project for any higher than a .250 batting average in 2023. Put that together with the 30 HR and we’d have a heck of a draft day value anywhere in the triple-digit picks.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a hat tip to my guy, Sporer, who tipped the scale with this Fangraphs article to convince me to click the Draft button on Muncy just a few days ago. I got him in Round 9 of a 12-team draft and hold with the 107th overall pick.

His current ADP is 145 overall, with a min pick of 82 and a max of 209 from October 2022 to today. But, if you adjust the calendar to just 2023 drafts, he is already creeping up with an ADP of 132 since the new year. While I may not have gotten a bargain, I jumped the ADP to get my guy.

Love the duel positions, love the lineup, and the rule change should help. Here’s to a bounce-back for Mad Max “Midland Masher” Muncy, eh, the nickname is a work in progress…

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