Will Mickey Moniak be Kevin Long’s next Kyle Schwarber?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 19: Mickey Moniak #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park on April 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants defeated the Phillies 2-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 19: Mickey Moniak #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park on April 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants defeated the Phillies 2-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Mickey Moniak is making his case for the Phillies’ big-league roster at spring training

Over the first two partial seasons of his Philadelphia Phillies career (29 games), Mickey Moniak had just one career big-league home run on his resumé, a three-run blast off San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani in April of 2021.

This past weekend, he hit a home run in each of his last three spring training games.

His offensive tear prompted many to wonder, has Kevin Long done it again?

The Phillies’ new hitting coach made headlines last summer when Kyle Schwarber credited his then-Nationals coach with helping him have the best season of his career. Long helped Schwarber unlock his potential, and together, they “unleashed a beast.”  Schwarber homered 32 times in only 113 games, including an outrageous June in which he hit 16 home runs in 18 games.

When the offseason began, the Phillies hired Long almost immediately. They need him to do for guys like Moniak and Alec Bohm what he did for Schwarber.

Can Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long turn Mickey Moniak into the next Kyle Schwarber?

Moniak made a brief 8-game debut in 2020, and played another 21 games for the Phillies last season, but hasn’t hit well enough to stick at the big-league level. So far, he’s a career .128/.241/.191 hitter with a meager .432 OPS.

But over his first seven games of the spring, Moniak has four hits, which is more than he had in either of his big-league seasons. He’s scored four runs, driven in five more, and only struck out four times. By comparison, he struck out six times in eight games in 2020, and 16 times in 21 games in 2021.

Thanks to the 99-day MLB lockout, Moniak and Long have only been working together for a couple of weeks, but the 23-year-old outfielder had high praise for his new coach:

"“He probably watched 1,000 of my at-bats and knew exactly what we were walking into even with not being able to communicate during the offseason. That’s why he’s the best in the business.”"

Of course, spring training games don’t count in the technical sense, but they’re important in other ways. Coaches and managers use this time to help players work out the kinks, and it looks like Moniak is un-kinking quite nicely. And with Odúbel Herrera sidelined 4-6 weeks with an oblique injury, the door is open for Moniak to get some playing time in centerfield.

Update: Mickey Moniak makes Phillies’ Opening Day roster

On Sunday, the Phillies informed Moniak that he will, in fact, make the Opening Day roster. Congratulations!

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