The 2021 MLB Draft begins on July 11, 2021, and unlike in 2020, this will be a twenty round draft — shorter than the forty rounds the draft has been in the most recent years prior to 2020, but longer than last year’s five round version. The Rangers’ top three picks are at #2, #38, and #73.
In the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks, looking both at players who are in the mix at #2 and players who would be candidates to be picked in the second or third rounds. Today we are looking at Thousand Oaks, California, high school infielder Maxwell Muncy.
Maxwell Muncy (he’s listed as Max Muncy in most places but we are going to call him Maxwell for obvious reasons) is a 6’1”, 180 lb. righthanded hitting shortstop out of Thousand Oaks, California. Unrelated to the Dodgers’ Max Muncy, Maxwell Muncy is a bit older than the normal high school player — he turns 19 in August — and is committed to the University of Arkansas.
Muncy has an interesting profile — he’s currently a shortstop, but there seems to be a good likelihood he ends up at either second base or third base, particularly once he fills out. Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline both have him as an average runner and neither seems impressed with his arm, which has them less bullish on his ability to stick at shortstop, while Baseball America calls him an above-average runner and thinks a move to second or third base isn’t necessarily a given. Regardless, he gets good marks for his fundamentals and instincts in the field.
Muncy’s bat is what has him seen as a late first or second round draft candidate. Some folks see him as a power over hit guy, some folks like the hit tool and the power tool. He hits the ball hard — Fangraphs says he “swings hard at everything” — though there are some swing-and-miss issues, as well as some concerns about his swing needing to be cleaned up a little.
One of the things that jumps out in reading about Muncy is how frequently he gets praise for the things that end up in the “makeup” category. BA talks about his “mature approach” and the time he spends studying hitters, and both BA and MLB Pipeline describe him as a “high energy” guy, with MLB Pipeline talking about Muncy getting “high marks for his desire to constantly work to get better.”
Baseball America has Muncy at #52 on their current top 500 draft list. MLB Pipeline has Muncy at #38 on their board. Over at ESPN Kiley McDaniel has Muncy #46 on his current board. Fangraphs has Muncy at #38 on their board. Keith Law does not have Muncy on his board.
Jim Callis mentions Muncy as a possibility with the Chicago White Sox at #22 in his latest mock draft, as does Kiley McDaniel in his latest mock, though neither has Muncy going there. Fangraphs’ mock draft doesn’t have Muncy projected, but says he is getting late first round buzz. No mention of Muncy in the latest mocks from Jonathan Mayo, Keith Law and Baseball America.
Muncy could well be off the board before the Rangers pick at #38, and if he’s there he’s not likely to be a below slot guy, so whether the Rangers would be interested in him at #38 would likely depend on what their overall drafting strategy is like. If they are willing to go full slot — or potentially a little over — at #38, Muncy could be an option there.
Muncy has a good overall skillset, athleticism, high makeup and potential plus power. Whether a team feels he’s worth using a late first/early second round pick on him and paying him what he wants is going to depend on their confidence in his hit tool and that the swing-and-miss issues can be ironed out. Texas has prioritized bat-to-ball skills so he may not be as high on their boards as others.
But on the other hand, he’s the guy that MLB Pipeline described as having the offensive upside of Ian Kinsler, so you know, that’s going to catch my eye, at least.