Muncy Getting His Feet Wet In Burlington

BURLINGTON, IA - There was no "easing in" period for Oakland A's 2012 fifth-round pick Max Muncy. The A's had Muncy skip right over the short-season leagues. He made his professional debut in the difficult hitting environment of the Midwest League. Muncy has had to make several adjustments since turning pro, but he is feeling comfortable at the plate. Bill Seals caught-up with the Baylor alum.

A home run in his first professional at-bat put Oakland's 2012 fifth-round pick Max Muncy on the radar of everyone who follows the A's minor-league system.

The honeymoon period would last an entire week for the 21-year old junior signee, as he hit .333 with a 1050 OPS across his first seven games at Burlington.

"It was very exciting," said Muncy, who signed with the A's for a reported $244,900, shortly after the completion of his junior season at Baylor.

"I was trying not to do anything stupid [in his first at-bat]. I didn't want to strike out on three straight pitches or watch three straight pitches. I wanted to put the ball in play. Luckily the ball went a little further than I expected."

Muncy came back to earth in the period that followed his hot start, as he slumped badly through the first couple weeks of July.

And although his July average currently stands at a paltry .235, Muncy is ending the month on a high note with seven hits in his last 20 at-bats. His triple slash line over his past 10 games is .297/.350/.432. A home run Saturday night against Cedar Rapids marked his first since the late-June debut.

"It's just how baseball goes," Muncy said.

"I had a couple hitches in my swing that I didn't know I was doing. But we got that worked out and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the plate. I'm feeling pretty good right now and need to keep it going."

As with every other player in the A's draft class, perhaps the biggest adjustment to pro ball is the daily grind of coming to the ballpark.

"Probably one of the biggest things is you play every single day," Muncy said.

"In college you'll get two, three or four days off a week. Up here you get one day off a month if you're lucky. That's actually how I prefer it, but at same time it's something you've got to get used to. Your body is not used to playing every day."

The A's fast-tracked the 6-foot, 190-pound first baseman to Burlington not long after he arrived in Arizona. Oakland's brass felt his advanced approach from playing in a major conference like the Big 12 was enough to get him through the test of full-season ball.

"I had no clue I was going to be here," Muncy said.

"I was kind of expecting short-season. I was in Arizona doing all my physicals and they called me into the office after my third or fourth day and told me I was going to Burlington, Iowa. I was just happy because I hadn't played in a game yet."

As a result of his advanced assignment, Muncy found himself in the Midwest League just weeks after his Baylor squad was eliminated by Arkansas in the NCAA Super Regionals.

"It's been pretty fun," he said. "I love being out here every day playing baseball. It's kind of nice not having to worry about class or anything.

"There was no point in waiting around [to sign] for me. As soon as our college season was over, I was ready to get going and get out here wherever they were going to send me. Especially with the new CBA [collective bargaining agreement], there's no point in trying to negotiate because your money is what it's going to be. I wasn't worried about that, I just wanted to get out here and play."

Through his first 109 professional at-bats, Muncy's triple slash line sits at .257/.367/.394. He's shown a good approach at the plate, walking as many times as he has struck-out (18).

For now, Muncy is taking a simple approach as he sees MWL teams for the first time.

"I just kind of go out there and play," he said.

"I look at the scouting reports the coaches put out and pay attention to what the pitcher is doing that game and listen to what other people say. I'm getting better every single day. Definitely having some professional coaching is huge."

Muncy's whirlwind journey will likely continue after this season at the A's Instructional League, where he'll look to prove himself worthy of a 2013 assignment in High-A Stockton.

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