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Max Muncy: A Dark Horse MVP Candidate?

Kelsey Grant/MLB.com

2019 has been an incredible year for players in the National League. Whether it’s Cody Bellinger nearing a franchise record in home runs while playing one of the best defensive seasons in recent history, Ronald Acuna Jr. looking to add his name to the 40/40 club, or Christian Yelich closing in on the never-before eclipsed 50/30 mark, this year has been nothing short of one of the best we’ve seen in regards to the talent across the league.

However, while Bellinger and Yelich have somewhat run away with the MVP title, there are still a number of players looking to grab a few votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) when they vote on the award later this year. One of those players being Dodgers infielder, Max Muncy.

To put it simply, Max Muncy was, and still is in some aspects, a diamond in the rough. After batting .181 at the Major League level with the Oakland Athletics in 2016, the club released him near the end of the following year’s Spring Training. Muncy continued working despite his harsh start to his big league career, and the Dodgers took a chance that has paid off in bunches. In 2018, Muncy debuted with the Dodgers and set a franchise record as the fastest player to hit 20 home runs with the club, doing it in 183 at-bats.

Moving forward to 2019, the magic that brought Muncy from struggling with the Athletics to seeing a spot in his very first All-Star Game in 2019 hasn’t stopped. As of August 20th, Max Muncy has clubbed 32 home runs for the Dodgers, and is closing in on his first 40 home run season of his career. Should he reach that total, he will be the second Dodger this season to launch 40 home runs, following Cody Bellinger in his absolute show at the plate.

According to the Baseball Reference Play Index, only thirty-six individual players have reached 40 home runs in a season since the turn of the century. It’s impossible to deny how incredible of a feat it is for one to rack up so many home runs. And, this is where Max Muncy’s case for MVP solidifies itself.

Max Muncy holds the twenty-second highest fWAR in all of baseball, besting Francisco Lindor, Freddie Freeman, and Nolan Arenado, to name a few. Five of the 2019 All-Star Game’s sixteen starting position players have been out-played by Muncy this season, according to fWAR.

With how stacked the spread looks in the National League this season, the chances are slim, but it would be foolish not to count Max Muncy into conversations for a spot on the NL MVP finalists list in 2019.

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Arrick Joel

Senior Writer for Dodgers-LowDown and Contributor for Diamond Digest.

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