'It's just surreal': A's sign 1st-rounder Muncy

July 20th, 2021

OAKLAND -- Since he was selected 25th overall by the A’s in the MLB Draft on July 11, all references to Max Muncy have been prefaced with “the other” to make the distinction between him and the current Dodgers star infielder with whom he shares the same name and birth date.

The goal for Muncy is to ultimately shed that prefix completely. That journey officially got underway on Monday, when the 2021 first-rounder signed with the A’s. Muncy’s signing bonus was $2.85 million, a source told MLB.com. The bonus is slightly above the $2,740,300 slot value for the No. 25 spot.

Muncy was already familiar with the Oakland Coliseum, having taken part in a pre-Draft workout in front of members of the A’s front office last month. After putting ink to paper on his deal with the club on Monday, the 18-year-old shortstop took the field prior to the A’s two-game series opener against the Angels and participated in fielding drills and batting practice with the big league club.

“It’s just surreal, especially to see these guys in person,” Muncy said. “They’re a lot bigger than I thought. You think you’re big when you’re compared to high school guys. But the guys have been super great.

“It’s just kind of starting to sink in. It doesn’t really make sense when you first get drafted. But when you get to the stadium and put the jersey on, it gets more real.”

The selection of Muncy marked the second straight year in which the A’s have taken a high school player in the first round of the Draft, following the pick of Tyler Soderstrom, who is ranked the club’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, in last year’s Draft.

A standout at Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High School, Muncy shined by hitting .459 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs in 28 games as he helped Thousand Oaks to a Southern Section Division 2 championship last season. The shortstop was recognized as one of the top players in the state, named Baseball Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News. He was also the CIF Southern Section Division 2 Player of the Year.

“This is always a bit of an exciting day when you get your first-round pick here and get to lay some eyes on him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It goes a ways back with me and the guys that we’ve had here, and now some of them are All-Stars that are playing right now.

“I often think about when a guy like Max will be at the big league level for us. You certainly expect your first-round picks to be at the big league level at some point. Being a high school kid, it takes a little bit longer. But it should be an exciting day.”

The first step toward reaching Oakland will begin on Tuesday in Arizona, where Muncy is set to report for the Arizona Complex League for the start of his professional career in rookie ball. A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said there is a chance for Muncy to also get some time with the Low-A Stockton Ports by season’s end, depending on how he progresses.

Given the aggressive nature the A’s have shown in promoting young players in the past -- recent examples being left-hander Jesús Luzardo and former first-round pick Matt Chapman -- Muncy is excited about the possibility of a speedy move through the system. One day, he expects to no longer be referred to as “the other Max Muncy.”

But he also realizes that such success doesn’t happen overnight. He’ll have to put in the work first. So far, he seems to be embracing the grind that is about to come.

“The work starts right now,” Muncy said. “It’s great to be here right now, but it’s going to kick into gear pretty soon.

“I talked to a few of the guys. They just told me to enjoy it. You want to get to the big leagues as fast as you can, but they said to enjoy the Minors and cherish the people you meet.”

Other signings

In addition to Muncy’s deal, MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reported that the A’s reached an agreement with third-round selection Mason Miller, a right-handed pitcher out of Gardner-Webb University. The signing bonus was for full slot value at $599,100.