One year ago, Oakland Athletics first base prospect Max Muncy was ripping up the High-A California League. He wound up hitting 21 homers in 93 games for Stockton, on the way to an overall line of .285/.400/.507. Promoted to Double-A Midland in the second half, he found the going more difficult in the Texas League, hitting .250/.340/.413 in 47 games, though he retained a good eye for the strike zone.
Returning to Midland for 2014, Muncy has been very productive with a .304/.428/.452 mark through 33 games and 115 at-bats. He's hit just two home runs and has had problems showing power against left-handed pitching, hitting just .226 with a .290 SLG against them, though a high walk rate has resulted in a .390 OBP. He's been crushing right-handers at a .333/.442/.512 clip.
Muncy was a fifth round pick in 2012 out of Baylor University, where he hit a steady .315/.408/.501 over three seasons. Aside from the power surge in the very friendly Cal League, he's never been a big-time home run hitter. However, scouts respect his short, clean swing and excellent batting eye. He's drawn 26 walks this year against 17 strikeouts and excellent BB/K ratios have been a traditional hallmark for him.
Although he'll make an occasional miscue around the bag at first base, he has enough mobility and arm strength to see some action at third base this year without undue trauma to the infield defense. Normally you'd like to see more home run power from a corner player, but Muncy's on-base abilities make him an interesting guy to track.