The Oakland A’s selected Max Muncy in the 1st round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday, with the No. 25 overall pick. The 18-year-old is a right-handed hitting shortstop from Thousand Oaks High School in California.
Of course, this pick might sound confusing at first. There’s already a Max Muncy in the majors, an All-Star on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the A’s originally drafted him too back in 2012. This is a different Max Muncy of absolutely no relation, and to drive the coincidence home even further, they share the same birthday of August 25 — although a dozen years apart.
There doesn’t appear to be any question about whether Muncy will sign, as opposed to choosing to go to college instead on a commitment to University of Arkansas. He’s expected to agree for $2.85 million, reports Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News, which would be slightly over the slot value for the No. 25 pick ($2.74 million).
Here’s a scouting report on Muncy from MLB Pipeline, who ranked him 38th on their pre-draft board:
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Muncy, not related to the big leaguer of the same name, is a high-energy player who gets high marks for his desire to constantly work to get better. Muncy has the chance to be an average hitter with perhaps above-average power when all is said and done. He has the ability to use that power to all fields. He can get too big and his overall approach still needs work, leading to some swing and miss, but the future impact is definitely there.
An average runner with a solid arm, Muncy would undoubtedly head out as a shortstop and would play there for Arkansas should he go on to college, but he could end up sliding over to third or second eventually. Those who believe in him might see a Dansby Swanson type, with a bit more power and a touch less hitability, with an offensive ceiling of someone like Ian Kinsler.
FanGraphs ranked him 40th, with a 40+ Future Value and a High risk rating (which makes sense for a high schooler). Their report:
He’s a middle infielder with some power, his name is Max Muncy, and somehow he is of no relation to the current Dodger. Muncy’s best tool is his power, as he had nine doubles and 10 home runs in 93 at-bats this spring against a very high level of high school competition. His swings hard at everything, and showed a tendency to strike out at times, leading some to put a power-over-hit tag on him. He has the fundamentals to be a solid defender, but as an average runner with an average arm, he has left some scouts to worry about a potential move to second base, where his power should still play.
One more report, from Baseball America:
He shows above-average hitting ability with a knack for driving the ball the other way and has the strong hands and wrists to project 20-plus home run potential. He studies opposing pitchers, has a mature approach and is rarely overmatched. ... Defensively, Muncy is an above-average runner with the instincts and footwork for shortstop, although he likely will have to move to third base if he gets bigger. He has the short-area quickness and above-average arm strength for the hot corner and enough athleticism to potentially play second base.
On the MLB Network broadcast, analyst and longtime major league general manager Dan O’Dowd chose the 6’1” infielder as a name to watch before the draft began: “My sleeper is Max Muncy going into the draft. I think the kid’s got tremendous rhythm to hit, and I think he’s gonna hit a lot, and I think he’s gonna be a very, very impactful big league player.”
Here’s some video, courtesy of The Prospect Pipeline.
And he can do a backflip!
And, Max Muncy backflips! pic.twitter.com/9w0DBGwKjH— ChristinaHarrison (@ChrstnaHarrison) June 20, 2021
This is the second straight year the A’s have used their 1st-round pick on a California high school hitter, after catcher Tyler Soderstrom last summer. It’s the second time in three years they’ve used it on a shortstop, after college SS Logan Davidson in 2019. It’s the third straight year they’ve used it on a baseball player.
Welcome to the A’s, New Max Muncy!
In all seriousness, Muncy fits the profile they've been connected to. Excellent athlete with advanced hit tool.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 12, 2021