A's select prep SS Max Muncy 25th overall

July 12th, 2021

The comparisons have always come up for Max Muncy. After all, he did grow up playing baseball near the same area where his namesake emerged as a star with the Dodgers, with the two even sharing the same birth date of Aug. 25. But shortstop Max Muncy, who was selected out of Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High School by the A’s with the 25th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, is his own player who is looking to carve out a path to the Major Leagues.

Muncy, 18, hit .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.

“We only take Max Muncys that are born on the same day,” joked A’s scouting director Eric Kubota. “It’s kind of unique. But aside from the name, we really like the player, too.”

Though Muncy shares no relation to the Dodgers infielder with the same name, whom the A’s actually drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 Draft, he does bring a similar power profile. Kubota said the club became enamored with Muncy’s ability to hit the ball out of the park to all fields during a pre-Draft workout at the Coliseum, a venue that has long been considered more friendly to pitchers.

“It’s not easy for high school players to hit balls out of our stadium,” Kubota said. “He did do that. But he hit balls hard to all directions of the field, and he got them out of there without a lot of effort.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound shortstop has been projected as more of a second or third baseman in the professional ranks. Kubota, however, believes Muncy has the ability to stick at his original position based on the strong arm and athleticism he’s displayed throughout his prep career.

Another added benefit Muncy has had through his high school career is the guidance of former big league shortstop Jack Wilson, who was his head coach at Thousand Oaks High. A veteran of 12 Major League seasons and an All-Star in 2004, Wilson served as a mentor for Muncy over the past four years.

Between the advice from Wilson and his father, Mike, who was drafted three times after graduating high school but never played professionally, Muncy said he has a solid understanding of what it takes to play the shortstop position at the highest level.

“My dad trained me from a young age to know what to expect,” Muncy said. “How hard to work to get to this position. Jack, playing 12 years, has taught me things you only know when you play in the big leagues that long. Those two combined really paved the way for me to understand how hard I have to work and what I have to do.”

The selection of Muncy marks the second straight year in which the A’s have selected a high school player with their first-round selection. They also selected , who is currently ranked as the club’s top overall prospect, per MLB Pipeline, with the No. 26 pick in last year’s Draft.

The player comparisons are wide-ranging for Muncy. MLB Network Draft analyst and former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd threw out Astros third baseman Alex Bregman as a comparison. When asked for a player comp during his session with media, Kubota said Muncy reminded them of Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

“I would say it’s a combination of tools. He’s an above-average runner and thrower. He’s got power,” Kubota said. “We really scouted him extremely thoroughly. We just think there’s a ton of upside to his game. 

“He’s athletic, and the tools are above average. We’ve seen him hit the baseball a long way often.”

There were questions entering the Draft over whether Muncy would sign with a Major League club if drafted based on his existing commitment to the University of Arkansas. But based on his interactions with Oakland’s scouting department, Muncy said he expects to begin his professional baseball career with the A’s.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Muncy said. “I’m gonna go out and meet with the A’s. I think it’s close to a done deal. You never know, but I’m excited to play for them. I’m guessing I’m going to end up with Oakland."