Phillies 2016 No. 1 Overall Pick Mickey Moniak on his way to the Big Leagues

You read that right. After Kyle Garlick was injured in their 4-1 win against New York on Tuesday, the Phillies were in desperate need of an extra outfielder. With depth being harder and harder to come by in the upper minors of the Phils’ system, Mickey Moniak is the only real outfielder left in the alternate site, meaning he was undoubtedly going to be the next one called up. With the draft status proceeding him, Moniak is a player that a majority of the fan base already despises, despite not playing a single game in the majors.

Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece talking about trade chips that the Phillies had. I had this to say about Mickey Moniak:

Being judged strictly on being the No. 1 overall pick makes his early career struggles look even more disastrous. Picking players that high makes the expectation levels soar, but after the Phillies drafted him, it didn’t matter. What matters now is how he can help a MLB team at his current state, not what would/could/should have been. Being drafted as a player with a advanced hit tool, Moniak has still shown glimpses of it in the minor leagues. His swing is still smooth and makes contact at a reasonable clip. However, he swings at far too many pitches out of the zone. Pair that with being a line drive hitter as opposed to a big power guy, and you get weak grounders and flyballs. This Spring Training, Moniak showed up visibly stronger than in prior seasons, and could project for 15-20 HRs in the future. He will probably never be an every day starter, as he is completely helpless against southpaws, but he should be able to at least contribute as a No. 4 outfielder. He still has a shot to stick in centerfield due to his above average speed, but he’ll never be the plus defender he was projected to be at 18 (crazy to think about all these projections we put on kids). His age definitely plays in his favor, as he is still only 21 years old and there are still growth years to be had for the kid from California. Moniak definitely still has a future in the league, regardless of what you hear from the typical cynical Philadelphia sports fan. Whether it’s in Philly, or somewhere else.

Everything that I said about him then still rings true now. While Moniak will never be a player that was worth the top overall pick in a draft, he certainly has the tools to be an interesting MLB player. At the current state of his development, he looks more like a platoon/4th outfielder type role player, as his stats against lefties has been garbage. With improvement, however, his ceiling is still an average everyday centerfielder. He still has the advanced bat to ball skills that made him the first overall pick, however his plate discipline causes his swing and miss numbers to be much higher than the organization would like. His statistics in the minors could be deceiving for that reason.

Defensively, he has the ability to play all three outfield positions. His above average speed plays well in center field, but again, not close to the projection the Phillies had on him when they took him with the first overall pick. With the injuries in the outfield beginning to pile up, the Phillies just need bodies who would be able to play out there in games.

Had 2020 been a normal season with Minor League baseball, Moniak would have spent the majority of this year in Lehigh Valley with the Iron Pigs. Regardless of how disappointing he has been (the disappointment should be how the Phillies and Matt Klentak projected him, not the kid), Moniak is still only 22 years old. He is still physically maturing, so there could be more under the hood for Mickey. I just find it scary to bring a kid that has not only struggled statistically, but also with his confidence, up to play meaningful games in the middle of a September stretch to get in the playoffs.

The Phillies had already been dealing with a shortage of positional player depth, so on Tuesday, they went out and signed C Jonathan Lucroy and 1B Greg Bird and assigned them to satellite camp. Lucroy, a two time All-Star with the Brewers, will bring some much needed depth to the catcher position for the uncertainty facing JT Realmuto and when he’ll be able to play again. Bird, who burst on the scene in 2015 as a member of the Yankees, has struggled staying healthy his entire career. With Rhys out for the season, it’s plausible that Bird could get some time with the team as they look to keep getting Alec Bohm consistent reps at third.

Let’s hope that the injuries don’t keep piling up, as the Playoffs are a must for this team.

Paging Bryce Harper…..

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