Mickey Moniak has been heating up in Triple-A, a welcome sight for fans and the Phillies, which selected him first overall in the 2016 June amateur draft.
The 23-year-old outfielder made his Major League debut last fall and played eight games for the Phillies in late September, slashing .214/.389/.214 with three hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.
His start to the 2021 season was considerably worse: he hit .120/.214/.240 with a .454 OPS in nine games with the Phillies between April 16-25, though he did hit his first career home run. He was sent down to Triple-A for the May 4 game, came back up to the Phillies for two games, and has been back in Triple-A since May 7.
Moniak has heated up considerably in June. In 14 games this month coming into Thursday’s game, he’s improved to .241/.276/.500 with a .776 OPS. He hit three home runs in 22 games in May; he has five home runs in 15 games in June.
During this week’s series against the Worcester WooSox, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, Moniak homered in back-to-back games. In Thursday’s game, he went 1-for-4 and his game-tying home run in the 7th inning drove in the Pigs only two runs. Unfortunately, despite his valiant effort, the WooSox won 3-2.
With his home run Thursday night, Moniak now leads the IronPigs with eight on the season. It was also the first run WooSox pitcher Austin Brice had allowed since being sent down from Boston; he’d held opponents scoreless in his first six games.
As fate would have it, Moniak’s grandfather Bill Moniak played in the Red Sox minor league system for six seasons between 1958-1963. He never made it to the big leagues.
Earlier this spring, Moniak’s name came up as a centerfield option for the big-league level, but his struggles ended that conversation. The centerfielder’s plate discipline still leaves a lot to be desired; he has 54 strikeouts in 45 games across Triple-A and MLB so far this season. But his increase in offensive output is an encouraging sign. Hopefully, the rookie is finally on track to develop into a true big-league player.