Phillies: Prospects other than Bohm, Howard to watch in spring training
Few prospects have aggravated Phillies fans like Mickey Moniak, the number one overall pick in 2016.
The Phillies may not have planned to have the number one pick when they entered a rebuild. Unfortunately, the time they landed in that position was the draft when there was no superstar on the cusp of being a big league player. No Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg-type players where the draft card could be filled out months in advance.
With no clear number one player the Phillies went with a high-ceiling high school player in Moniak. They thought he could hit at every level and be the next Christian Yelich (this was before Yelich’s power surge with Milwaukee), hitting around 300 with 30 doubles and maybe finding 15-20 home runs when the weather was favorable.
Time has not been friendly for Moniak with fans yearning to see the return on the front office’s investment. He’s still just 21-years-old, turning 22 in May, after being drafted just a couple months after his 18th birthday and before his high school graduation.
The pressure of being the top pick definitely got to Moniak and hit bat struggled dearly. He hit just .236 in his first full professional season and has hit .261 in his last two seasons with Clearwater and Reading. Some of that pressure came off in 2018 when a visit from his high school friends got him back in the game and Harper took him under his wing last year after Moniak made big league camp.
Moniak enters his second big league camp with an uncertain future in Philadelphia. He could start at either Reading or Lehigh Valley, but he’s not on the 40-man roster, mostly due to Rule 5 Draft considerations.
Right now Adam Haseley, Philadelphia’s 2017 first round pick, projects to be the opening day center fielder. Philadelphia has options for left field if Andrew McCutchen needs more time coming off an ACL injury, but could (someday) be the heir to McCutchen in left field. That would be the best-case scenario for Philadelphia.
Keep an eye on Moniak in camp to see how his body has developed and if his bat finds the grove that helped make him the first overall pick.