Dodgers Team News

Dave Roberts Believes Max Muncy Can Take Next Step as Defender This Season For Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy did not have a great season defensively in 2023. His reputation as a fielder isn’t the substance of anecdotal chatter; his Fielding Run Value was fourth-worst among third basemen with at least 500 innings played at the position, according to Statcast.

Muncy was a reliable fielder at first base before the Dodgers signed Freddie Freeman. Since then, he has been relegated to third base.

Muncy hasn’t seen the same level of success at the hot corner, but he is working to turn that around. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted on Tuesday in Glendale, Arizona that Muncy was the most frustrated by his own struggles a season ago — the source of his motivation to focus the offseason on improving defensively.

Roberts went so far as to say he believes Muncy can become one of the better third baseman in baseball. He also said Muncy is in great shape right now, and his teammates have spoken highly of him in spring training.

Of course, Roberts and the Dodgers will see if Muncy’s efforts have paid off come Opening Day in March. The Dodgers will start to get a glimpse of Muncy’s improved defense when Cactus League games begin Thursday against the San Diego Padres.

This will be Muncy’s seventh season with the Dodgers since joining the team in 2018, following a year as a multi-position utility player with the then-Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017. This came after Muncy began his major league career with the Oakland Athletics from 2015-2016.

Muncy turned around his career with the Dodgers. He’s gone from a borderline major leaguer to a two-time All-Star while in Los Angeles. He helped the Dodgers win a World Series in 2020. If he can continue to improve at third base, he’ll have shored up his most glaring weakness as a major leaguer.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Eva Geitheim

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.

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