Since Max Muncy suffered a dislocated elbow in 2021, his performance on the field hasn’t been the same. While his power has returned this season, especially against right-handed pitching, he’s been struggling offensively when facing left-handers.
This raises an important question: Should the Dodgers consider platooning Muncy at third base?
The answer is a definite yes. The challenge, however, lies in the fact that the Dodgers lack a true backup third baseman with power. Players like Kiké Hernàndez, Amed Rosario, Chris Taylor, and Miguel Rojas can play the position but lack the same offensive firepower. Against left-handers, Muncy has managed only 7 home runs and a .389 slugging percentage, while his on-base percentage of .241 is far from satisfactory. This has contributed to the Dodgers’ losing record against left-handed starters.
If the Dodgers can’t afford to sit Muncy against left-handers, manager Dave Roberts should consider moving him to the seventh spot in the lineup. By doing so, Muncy will be placed behind power-hitters like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, and Will Smith, who can compensate for his struggles against left-handers.
At one point, the Dodgers had a potential opportunity to acquire Nolan Arenado, a right-handed power-hitting third baseman. Arenado’s addition would not only be a defensive upgrade from Muncy, who is originally a first baseman, but also improve the team’s performance against left-handers, with his impressive .524 slugging percentage against them. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, and Muncy is set to finish the season in LA.
With a $10 million club option for 2024, Muncy’s performance for the rest of the season will play a crucial role in the team’s decision regarding his future with the Dodgers. As they move forward, the team will have to carefully consider how to optimize their lineup and address the challenges posed by left-handed pitchers.