Price and Muncy Will Be Valuable

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers defeated the Rockies 7 to 1.

David Price looked much better than he did in his first Dodger start. After his first start as a Dodger, Price admitted that his knees were shaking, but he was pleased he could feel his left hand. His control was poor.

Saturday against the Colorado Rockies, Price looked like a former Cy Young Award winner. In his three innings, he struck out seven Rockies. Since he painted the corners, the Rockies were utterly baffled. Price’s velocity was fantastic, and he could change speeds effectively. If he can pitch as he did today, he would compete for the 2020 National League Cy Young Award.

Joe Kelly, Pedro Báez, Scott Alexander, and Brusdar Graterol pitched superbly. This spring, nearly all the games, the Dodger pitching has dominated. Despite hurling in dry air, the pitchers can spin their breaking balls magnificently and use their changeups effectively.

About two years ago, no Dodger fan knew who Max Muncy was, but today he is an integral part of the Dodger lineup. This past off-season, the Dodgers rewarded the hard-working Muncy with a long-term contract. Nevertheless, just over two years ago, it appeared Muncy might be out of professional baseball.

Growing up in Keller, Texas, a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth, Muncy excelled in sports. Instead of signing with the Cleveland Indians out of high school, Muncy elected to attend Baylor University, where he excelled in baseball. In the 2012 Amateur Draft, the Oakland Athletics selected Muncy in the fifth round.

Despite raising typically through the Athletics’ Minor-League system, Muncy struggled at the Major-League level, hitting .186 in 51 games; therefore, the Athletics released Muncy at the end of 2017 spring training.

Because Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi had worked within the Oakland Athletics’ system, he had a familiarity with Muncy. Three weeks after the Athletics released him, Muncy had a Dodger Minor-League contract. Within the Dodger Minor-League system, he learned about the launch angle and adapted his swing to become more powerful.

Muncy burst into the Dodger lineup in April 2018, when the Dodgers had offensive struggles and helped the team to score. He was selected to the All-Star team and narrowly missed winning the Home Run Derby. In the 2018 World Series, he blasted a dramatic 18th-inning home run enabling the Dodgers to win Game 3.

In 2019, although he battled wrist problems for the entire season, Muncy had .251 with 35 homers and 98 RBI. His defense both at first base and second base significantly improved with increasing his range.

This spring, Muncy has had a terrific spring, hitting the first spring training home run of his career, as he prepares to be everyday Dodger first baseman.

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