Phillies should mull Mickey Moniak, C.J. Chatham for bench
By Bryce Turner
Outfielder Mickey Moniak and infielder C.J. Chatham may not have much major-league experience, but they could be what the Philadelphia Phillies are looking for when it comes to bench depth.
The Phillies do have a few go-to options, such as Andrew Knapp, Brad Miller and whoever doesn’t start in center field between Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery.
Rookies Moniak and Chatham should also be considered.
The Phillies could benefit from having Mickey Moniak, C.J. Chatham. on bench.
Moniak was drafted No. 1 overall by the Phillies in 2016 and debuted this past September — going 3-for-14 with four walks in eight games. Those three hits came in his last six at-bats, perhaps a sign of improvement as he got more experience. The outfielder has not produced great batting averages or many home runs in the minors, but he can drive in batters and hit the ball deep — making him a prime pinch-hit candidate, especially with there not being a designated hitter.
Moniak had 22 homers, 194 RBI, and slashed .256/.302/.390 across 402 minor league games. In 2019, he appeared in 119 games for Double-A Reading, leading the team with 41 extra-base hits. He also tied Darick Hall for a team-leading 67 RBI and batted .293 in two-out and runners-in-scoring-position situations. He led the entire Eastern League with those extra-base hits and tied for the third-most RBIs.
Moniak was nearly as impressive in 2018, when he appeared in 114 games for the Clearwater Threshers. He led the team with 31 extra-base hits, ranked second on the team with 55 RBI, and hit .279 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
While Moniak didn’t receive as much hype surrounding his debut as teammates Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard, despite being a former first overall draft pick, he is still a player capable of having an impact this season.
C.J. Chatham is another Phillies rookie who could do well as a pinch-hitter.
The Phillies acquired Chatham this offseason from the Boston Red Sox. A second-round pick in that same 2016 draft, the infielder has yet to debut.
Unlike Moniak, Chatham has a better track record of batting averages, albeit in less games. He had 14 homers, 124 RBI, and slashed .298/.337/.402 across 266 minor league games. He split 2019 between Boston’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates — batting .297 with 36 RBI in 90 games at the former, and .302 with 10 RBI in 20 games at the latter. In 2018, Chatham slashed .314/.350/.389 across two levels, including 43 RBI and a .315 batting average in 95 games with Boston’s Advanced-A affiliate.
Batting average is Chatham’s strength and he also provides another infield option. While most of his minor league experience came at shortstop, he’s spent multiple games at both second and third base.
With a lack of bench depth, the Phillies could try something different by giving increased roles to these two rookies, especially in pinch-hitting situations. Both Moniak and Chatham have shown potential in the minor leagues and deserve a chance at regular playing time off the bench this season.