When the A's released Max Muncy at the end of spring training in 2017, his future in baseball seemed bleak.
Muncy only made it into seven games with the A's that spring and hit .125. He hit .195 over two seasons -- 96 games -- with five home runs and 55 strikeouts with Oakland and 2015 and 2016. At the end of April 2017, Muncy signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and spent the entire season in Triple-A, where he hit 12 homers and had a .905 OPS.
Fast forward to present day, and Muncy is batting .389 with one homer, six RBI and a 1.133 OPS against the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Sometimes change is needed, and Muncy believes his motivation from being released by the A's played a big role in sparking his stardom with the Dodgers.
“There’s always a motivation like that for anybody, Muncy said Saturday to reporters, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "If you’re ever released from a team or traded from a team, there’s always some type of motivation.”
Muncy hit 35 home runs his first season with the Dodgers in 2018, and finished with the same numbers of long balls the next year in 2019. In this year's shortened 60-game season, Muncy knocked another 12 homers but hit a lowly .192. He has stepped up when it matters most, though.
Through 17 games this postseason, Muncy is batting .268 with three homers and has a .961 OPS. Muncy also has the second-most walks in a single postseason with 20. He sits behind just Barry Bonds in 2002, who had 27, with 13 of those intentional.
“One of the things I talk about the most is the mental adversity I had to overcome,” Muncy said. “Not just what happened on the field, but things that happened off the field. You come home from the stadium, and you’re not happy. You’re dealing with a lot of stuff. It makes it really difficult.
“So just trying to overcome all that stuff is something I’m most proud of. Just regaining the little kid in me. Going out there and, regardless what happens, enjoying my time and being thankful I get to go out there and play baseball every single day.”
Muncy was 26 years old when the A's released him. He's 30 now, and one win away from becoming a World Series champion after beating both adversity and the Rays' long list of filthy pitchers.