Back in early April I wrote an article that, shortly after its publication, made me look like an idiot. I rarely need help in that regard, but in this case the baseball gods saw fit to punish me even further. Undaunted, I'm going to try again while tackling the same subject. Maybe this time I'll get my Max Muncy take right. Then again, maybe not.
The thesis of the April piece was that Muncy was completely lost at the plate. Following an awful 2022 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers infielder had opened 2023 by going 4-for-33 with a single extra base hit. He was slashing .121/.293/.212 with 16 strikeouts in 41 plate appearances. Hours after that piece was published, Muncy launched a grand slam and a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants, then went on an absolute tear for several weeks, raising his OPS to a high of 1.152 and setting my Twitter mentions on fire.
Since that time things have ... gotten weird.
Muncy is having a crazy season. Not crazy good. Not crazy bad. Just ... crazy. The offensive explosion he began in mid-April gradually flamed out in the first half of May. Since then, he's been awful again. His numbers are confusing as hell. He's still hitting home runs and his slugging percentage isn't terrible, but he's striking out a ton and only hitting .195.
On April 28, Muncy was slashing .260/.426/.726 (1.152 OPS). He ended April with an OPS of 1.184. Then things went south. For the month of May, he slashed .186/.273/.402 (.675 OPS). By the end of the month, his OPS had dropped to .858. But June is where the wheels really fell off.
In June, Muncy hit .111 with a .259 on-base percentage, a .222 slugging percentage and an OPS of .481. By the time the month ended, his season OPS was down to .782. So he was cooked, right? Back down to where I said he was in my early-season piece. Boom, validated.
Not so fast.
So far in six July games, Muncy has picked it back up again. He's hitting .263 with an on-base percentage of .364, while slugging .579. That's an OPS of .943. He already has two home runs in the month, one more than he had in all of June. The whiplash of these numbers is something rarely seen in Major League Baseball.
Now, look, Muncy's stats for the season aren't great. He's hitting .195 with a .325 on-base percentage while slugging .469. His .794 OPS is far lower than it should be for someone with 20 home runs and 51 RBI. But that's the thing, it feels like Muncy is power or bust. He has 47 hits all season, 20 are home runs and six are doubles. He's walking at a decent clip but has 82 strikeouts against those 47 walks. His wRC+ of 113 is solid but far below the 139 he put up in 2021.
So is this just who Muncy is now? A streaky power hitter who can't provide any consistency and has seasons that don't really make sense? It might be.
Then again, with my track record he's probably going to explode for an MVP season.