Baseball isn’t played on paper, but in the offseason, the “on-paper” projections are all we have. This is the fourth installment in our series looking at the projections for key members of the 2023 Dodgers. We’ve done Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith; now it’s time to take a look at Max Muncy.
Here are the expected stat lines for Muncy from three projection systems: RotoChamps, Steamer, and Marcels (in the format of AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI R).
RotoChamps: .217/.346/.438 27 79 80
Steamer: .225/.344/.431 25 75 73
Marcels: .219/.333/.421 23 69 72
All the projections are in agreement that Muncy isn’t going to hit much, he’ll take plenty of walks, and he’ll knock some homers. Projections are based on past performance, and Muncy struggled in 2020 and 2022. His combined slash line the last three years is .218/.346/.446, which is right in line with the projections we’re seeing.
The projections have Muncy with an average of 467 at-bats and an average of 25 homers; Muncy has averaged 27 home runs per 467 at-bats the last three years.
So yeah, these projections are all in line with what we’ve seen the last three years from Muncy. The question is, should we expect more in 2023?
In 2020, Muncy broke his hand during Spring Training II: Summer Camp, which affected him into the season. His numbers in the second half of the shortened season (.212/.366/.404 over the final 31 games), while not peak Muncy, were quite a bit better than the first half (.172/.291/.374).
Similarly, in 2022, Muncy started the season still feeling the effects of the gruesome elbow injury he suffered late in the 2021 season. After the game on June 27, Muncy was hitting .160/.322/.277 with just five home runs. We chose that date because, according to Muncy, that’s when he changed his swing to include a slight step-back with his left foot, which turned his season around. From June 28 through the end of the year, Muncy batted .221/.334/.457 with 16 home runs.
So there’s reason to think the projections — which are accurately based on his past performance — will end up being low if Muncy is healthy. Most of the time, projections end up coming close because a guy who was hurt in two of the last three years has a decent chance of being hurt again this year, but Muncy’s injuries were both very fluky. In 2020, he was hit in the hand by a pitch, and in late 2021, he got his elbow destroyed trying to catch a throw a first base that took him into the path of the runner. There’s nothing about Muncy’s injuries that would suggest he’s likely to be hurt in 2023.
Muncy has had three mostly healthy seasons with the Dodgers. Here are his slash lines in those years:
- 2018: .263/.391/.582
- 2019: .251/.374/.515
- 2021: .249/.368/.527
If Muncy is healthy in 2023, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him a lot closer to those numbers than what the projections are saying.
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