Phillies Take OF Moniak, RHP Gowdy on Day 1 of MLB Draft

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With the first overall pick of the 2016 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the Philadelphia Phillies select…

Mickey Moniak, a high school center fielder from the state of California.

“He’s a very good player, he’s somebody … who could play center field in the big leagues right now,” said the Phillies Director of Amateur Scouting Johnny Almaraz. “His ability to hit the baseball is above everybody else in the country. His defensive ability is about a 70/100.”

When asked how closely the team had been monitoring the center fielder, Almaraz made it known he was someone the Phillies kept a very close yet on.

"We had over 20 reports on Mickey Moniak. There was somebody from our organization at every single game."

Almaraz reiterated that Moniak “was number one on my list and on the board. He was the best player in the country,” and that he has a large role in the rebuilding franchises’ future at the plate, in the field, and inside the clubhouse.

"I believe one day he’s going to hit anywhere from 15-22 home runs. He’s going to play in the center of the field, be a gold glove center fielder who’s going to hit in the middle of the line up and be a leader on the team.He possessed a lot of ability that college players don’t possess"

When Moniak will reach the big leagues is not on a set schedule said Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak. The first year GM said Moniak’s development “will dictate” when he gets to the big leagues.

"We will promote him through the system as quickly as his performance dictates. There’s so many factors that will ultimately play into that, but we think he has a good chance to succeed right out of the gate and from there we’ll see how he performs.I would expect we send him down to Florida and get him worked out, make sure he’s in game shape and get him instructed in the GCL (Gulf Coast League)”"

Fans will have to be patient with Moniak, as he projects to reach the big leagues in approximately four years. Unlike Aaron Nola, who had a very quick ascent into the major leagues, Moniak is young and will have his tools refined.

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With no clear top prospect in the eyes of many in the baseball community, the Phillies were expected to use the majority of their allotted time to make the call. When asked at what time the Phillies came to the conclusion Moniak was their guy, a smirking Klentak confirmed that they made the decision “pretty close to the time that we made the actual selection” Thursday night.

Despite the elongated selection time, Almaraz insisted Mickey Moniak, whose grandfather was coached by Ted Williams in the minor leagues, was their guy and someone they locked in on about a month prior to the draft.

"We were focused on a pretty small group of names. Like I said, there was definite separation between him and others as far as the opinions of our people."

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  • Matt Klentak also chipped in and expressed his early interest in the outfielder from California.

    "We were definitely focused on Moniak. That was a target and priority guy for us the whole time some times there are a lot of factors that play into this and we used almost all of the allotted time.He’s athletic, he can really hit. One of the top bats in the country and he’s a center fielder, so that’s a pretty good combination."

    Above everything else, the team loved Mickey Moniak the person almost as much as the player. Last week Almaraz spoke and highlighted a players intangibles off the field and his mental make-up. When asked about what intangibles Moniak brings that Almaraz liked, the Scouting Director blushed over the kid.

    "He’s wired how I like wires. He’s got an outstanding makeup. He wants to succeed. He’s a relentless worker and the drive he possesses based on all of the reports we have, both physiological and the scouts intuition that checks out. That’s the kind of person we want in our system."

    I can already hear Dan Baker on Opening Day, 2020 with the over-annunciation. “Batting third, number 22, playing center field, Mick-eeee Monnnnn-eeeee-ak.”

    Also selected Thursday night was right-handed pitcher Kevin Gowdy from Santa Barbara High School in California. The 6’4 pitcher throws in the low-mid 90’s, but his velocity is expected to improve as he continues to grow and build up his frame.

    He features an above average fastball, a good breaking ball, and a decent change up for his age.

    He is a very mature student of the game who created his own training regimen and earned a gold medal with Team USA at the Under 18 Baseball World Cup.

    Almaraz said the club was surprised he was still available with the first pick of the second round and gave a quick scouting report on the young righty.

    "“A young right handed pitcher who has that ability to command the baseball at such a young age. Above average fastball, some really good breaking stuff. I’m a big believer that you can not teach somebody how to pitch.”“He’s got that innate ability to pitch and get hitters out and that’s what we want in this organization, front line starters.”"

    The Phillies will still have to sign both players to their first official professional contracts, something that can become a bit of a sticky situation at times. Brady Aiken was drafted first overall by the Houston Astros and was unable to come to a contract agreement after questions regarding his elbow arose. Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery and was drafted last year by the Cleveland Indians with the 17th overall pick.

    “We’re confident we’re going to sign him,” said Klentak regarding Moniak. “There’s a pretty good chance we sign both these guys, but we won’t know until there’s ink on a piece of paper.”

    Both Moniak and Gowdy were committed to play for UCLA next season, but if they choose to sign their professional contracts they will not attend the university.

    The Phillies have had a very good history drafting out of California, producing starts such as Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Jimmy Rollins.

    Philadelphia has the first pick in the third round, as well as the remaining 37 rounds that will be conducted over the course of Friday and Saturday.

    For more information on the Phillies and the MLB Draft, including the draft schedule, rules, and history of the Phillies draft, check out our MLB Draft Guide.

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