The 2021 season was one heck of a roller coaster for Max Muncy. The slugging first baseman carried the Dodgers in the first half with his bat, which resulted in him being in early MVP conversations.
But that first half was short-lived as Muncy came tumbling back to earth in the second half, posting a .809 OPS. That's not a low number by many standards, but his .972 OPS in the first half was otherworldly. But in the last game of the season, Muncy went down with an elbow injury that would keep him out for the entire postseason.
This week, ESPN's Buster Olney listed Max as the number 7 first baseman in all of baseball heading into 2022. Olney also added that uncertainty with Muncy's elbow was the reason for him being ranked that low after his wild 2021 season.
“There will be a lot of lingering injury questions whenever MLB restarts, and the condition of Muncy’s elbow will loom large for the Dodgers. If not for that uncertainty, he might be higher on this list.”
Muncy has already said during the offseason that he suffered a tear in his UCL during that collision at first base. For the moment, there's no telling if he will be ready to go by Opening Day, wherever that is. That lingering doubt seems to have sparked a broader interest for the Dodgers in Freddie Freeman.
But when he is at 100 percent, Muncy is one of the elite first basemen in MLB. His 15.2 WAR is only second to Freeman among first baseman, and he's added in a .890 OPS across the last 4 seasons.