Minor League Prospect Note: Max Muncy, 1B, Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics drafted Max Muncy in the fifth round this year out of Baylor University. I saw him several times in college and again last week in the Midwest League, so here's my take.
Muncy was a starter for three years at Baylor, hitting .300/.374/.500 as a freshman, .322/.428/.511 as a sophomore, and .322/.418/.494 as a junior in 2012, with 41 walks and 32 strikeouts in 255 at-bats this past spring. Drafted in the fifth round this past June, he signed for $240,000 (slightly below $244,900 slot value) and was sent directly to the Burlington Bees in the Low-A Midwest League. There, he's hitting .261/.368/.414 with 15 doubles, four homers, 35 walks, and 32 strikeouts in 203 at-bats. That's not terrific, but he's getting on base and holding his own well enough, considering the jump in competition and the wooden bat.
Muncy is a 6-0, 190 pound left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, born August 25, 1990. He has a mechanically-sound swing, and enough bat speed to pull the ball frequently. On the other hand, his swing doesn't have much loft to it. Although he hits a homer in the video linked above, Muncy wasn't a big home run hitter in college and I don't he'll be one as a pro, either, looking more like a doubles guy. He controls the strike zone well and draws his share of walks, which helps, but as a first baseman without big home run power, it will be tough for him to force his way into a job.
Although he's not a superfast runner, Muncy is athletic and well-coordinated. He has quickness on defense, showing good hands and surprising range. He's athletic enough that his college coaches considered a switch to second base at one point, and he has some experience as a catcher, too.
Muncy reminds me of Doug Mietkiewicz, who parlayed a similar skills set into a 12-year career.