Dodgers News: Max Muncy Talks Key to Resurgence After Painfully Slow Start to Season
Max Muncy is back to being one of the premier sluggers in the game in 2023. The Dodger third baseman leads all of baseball in home runs with 11, (he was tied with Mets’ star Pete Alonso entering play on Sunday). When you remember how the season started for the two-time All-Star, it’s crazy to see how far he’s come.
Over the first 10 games of the year, he was hitting .121 with just one homer and 2 runs batted in. Frustrated with how things were going, he worked with hitting coach Aaron Bates to bring back the move that saved his season from being a total disaster in 2022, a step-back as part of the load in his swing.
In 12 games since that point, he’s among the best in the league with a .382/.533/1.177 triple slash line. He’s hit 9 home runs and 17 RBI.
After his 2 bomb game on Saturday, Max talked to reporters about his resurgence.
“Clearing my head. That was the main reason for me going back to the step-back, being able to clear my head in the box and allow my swing and my path, which I worked really hard on this offseason, to just be able to do what it needs to do. It’s hard to do that when you’re thinking about a bunch of stuff in the box and you’re tying yourself up and you’re becoming tight. So for me, it’s just being free and easy in the box and being mentally clear.”Via SNLA
Why Did Max Muncy Change His Swing?
When he entered spring training camp in Arizona in February, the step-back was gone. After a fully healthy offseason, he felt confident enough to go back to his old swing and approach, the one sans step back. It actually worked well during the Cactus League season as he hit .304 with a 1.005 OPS in 19 games. Then a 5 strikeout game on opening day crushed his psyche. Muncy admitted to the mental side of his game taking a hit — the feeling of oh no, not again… creeping into his head.
Thankfully, after 10 terrible games to start the year, he had another club in his bag he could turn to.
The Defense Improved at 3B Too
Another thing that contributed to Muncy’s mental struggles was his play on defense. Over those first few games of the year, Max was tagged with just a pair of errors but he also had a number of plays get by him that he’ll tell you he should have made.
Since his breakout game at the plate, he’s also played perfect defense at third and quieted the detractors.
Of course, he had his first error in 16 games with a first inning boot that led to 2 unearned runs on Sunday.