It’s hard to believe, but a little more than a year ago, Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Max Muncy was considering life without baseball.
Last week, Muncy, who has been dubbed “Mad Max” after a breakout season in L.A., got an invite to the MLB Home Run Derby. Called up by the Dodgers on April 17, Muncy has been leading the National League in OPS — or on-base plus slugging, a statistic that combines slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
“He was the fastest Dodger in history to 20 home runs — even faster than [2017 National League Rookie of the Year Cody] Bellinger last year,” noted Kevin Hubbard, founder of Hub Sports Management and Muncy’s agent.
But just last spring — on March 31, 2017 — the Oakland A’s released Muncy, who they had drafted out of Baylor in 2012. Hubbard got on the phone right away with Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi, who always thought Muncy was a good hitter, but it took three weeks for the Dodgers to find a spot for him in the organization.
“The lowest low was when he didn’t have a job for three weeks in April ,” Hubbard said. “He contacted Baylor to see how many classes he needed to finish his business degree.”
Now Muncy is the toast of L.A., and although he’s happy to have a baseball career in front of him, he’s not crazy about all the media attention that has come with it, Hubbard said. There’s a lot of talent in the Dodgers’ clubhouse and to keep Muncy in the lineup, the team has moved him around to first base, third base and left field this season. Muncy is big on preparation and he’s found it hard to balance that with the onslaught of media requests about his unexpected rise.
“He’s just worried about prepping,” Hubbard said. “He’s not a big Twitter guy. He’s not into that. … He’s happy that he earned the attention, but he’s more worried about keeping things going for the team.”
Hubbard is not into media attention, either. He gave Sports Business Journal an interview reluctantly “because it’s about Max.” He started Hub Sports Management in 2015 after working as a baseball agent and adviser at Lagardère Sports. The company is named after his nickname and it currently represents 22 players, most of whom are in the minors.
Hubbard recently negotiated a deal with Nike for Muncy’s shoes and apparel. Muncy also has deals with Wilson for fielding gloves, Franklin for batting gloves and MaxBat, Hubbard said.
In terms of a new playing contract, Muncy won’t be arbitration eligible for two years.
■ EAG ADVISING WINSTON: EAG Sports Management CEO Denise White has been working with embattled Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, helping him set up interviews for a new playing contract agent, according to multiple sources.
Winston recently terminated TLA Worldwide for playing contract work after that agency helped him negotiate a three-game suspension over an incident involving allegations that Winston inappropriately touched a female Uber driver. Winston apologized to the driver when the suspension was announced.
Winston had been with TLA since before he was picked No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL draft. White was brought in as a public relations consultant last November, when the Uber incident was first reported.
White confirmed she was working with Winston but declined further comment.
Winston, who is under contract with the Bucs until after the 2019 season, is expected to interview agents over the next few weeks and select one in the next few months, sources said.