Grading Phillies outfielder Mickey Moniak’s 2020 season
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 Major League Baseball amateur draft, Mickey Moniak, finally made his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies this past season. It’s safe to say it could have gone a lot better.
As a September call-up, Moniak saw very limited action at the end of the season, and he failed to make the most of it — struggling in all aspects of the game. FanGraphs gave Moniak a -.02 WAR on the season, which signifies just how lost he looked in his first big-league action.
Offensively, Moniak saw just 18 at-bats and slashed .214/.389/.214. His three hits were all singles, and he walked four times and struck out six. There are no two ways about it, Moniak is going to need to cut down on his strikeouts at the major league level if he wants to stick around, the Phillies can’t afford to have him striking out in a third of his at-bats.
To complicate things even more, his .375 batting average of balls in play (BABIP) indicates that he was likely getting lucky with the little contact he was making.
Defensively, Moniak was not much better, sporting a .857 fielding percentage. His two errors actually tied him for the most among all left fielders in baseball last season, a dubious mark he earned in just 29 innings and on 11 chances.
Eight games are hardly a large enough sample size to definitively call Moniak a “bust,” but it certainly does little to change the narrative surrounding the former top prospect’s inability to translate on his potential. The talent is still visibly there for the outfielder, he just needs to be able to consistently translate it to positive at-bats and better fielding.
Moniak has largely struggled in the minors since being drafted back. In his 402 minor-league games, he has hit .256/.302/.390 to go along with 22 home runs and 194 RBI. Despite being a former No. 1 overall pick, Moniak cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list just once, in 2017.
Numerous players taken later in the 2016 draft have arrived earlier and performed far above expectations. Moniak, meanwhile, has barely kept his head above water and hadn’t played above Double-A until the 2020 season.
Moniak had an opportunity to turn some heads this September, but he couldn’t capitalize on it. He looked lost at the plate and made some critical defensive mistakes that make you wonder where his head was at. Because of that, we are giving Moniak a “D” grade.
The Phillies outfield next season seems likely to roll with some combination of Andrew McCutchen, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, and Bryce Harper. That doesn’t leave much room for Moniak, who will also likely compete with Kyle Garlick for a roster spot during spring training. There seems to be a decent chance that Moniak could be destined to spend the season in Triple-A until an injury forces the Phillies to make a call-up.
It was nice to see Moniak finally wear red pinstripes, but it’s hard to figure where he fits into the team’s long-term plans right now. Moniak didn’t leave a positive impression in his limited action, and he’s struggled at every level he’s played at. That said, he is still just 22 years old and is a former first overall pick. The talent is still there, he just needs to put it all together.