Kevin Long fixed Mickey Moniak in a matter of weeks with one simple question
It’s still shocking to look at the Philadelphia Phillies Opening Day roster and see Mickey Moniak’s name listed in centerfield. It will be even more crazy if he is announced as the starting center fielder tomorrow when the Phillies take the field against the Oakland Athletics.
Moniak was the number one overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft and has undoubtedly struggled to develop in to a major league level talent in the Phillies organization. This Spring however, everything changed. Moniak slashed .378/.378/.973 with a 1.351 OPS, hitting six home runs with 11 RBI.
After being written off by the majority of Phillies fans and honestly, the organization, Joe Girardi really had no choice but to bring him up to the 28-man roster. Moniak’s strong play coupled with an Adam Haseley trade and an Odubel Herrera injury now likely has him starting in centerfield.
So what changed?
In a recent article by Scott Lauber in Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies’ new hitting coach Kevin Long approached Moniak at the start of Spring Training and asked him a simple question.
On the first day of spring training, new Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long introduced himself to Mickey Moniak with a pointed question.
“Is there a fear of being closer [to the plate]?” Long asked.
“No,” Moniak said. “Not at all.”
That was everything Long needed to hear. Because he believed he had already seen what may turn Moniak into a better hitter. Long figured a change in the direction of Moniak’s stride could spur more rotation with his hips. But it was all predicated on shuffling his feet in the left-handed batter’s box and moving him closer to the plate.
“I looked at his swing and I thought, ‘Man, this guy’s doing himself an injustice,’” Long said. “For the mechanics and the swing that I saw, I go, ‘If he could just get closer to the plate, get his stride direction in line,’ I said, ‘I don’t see any reason why he’s not going to be really, really good and special.’ So it was kind of easy.”
Long asked Mickey Moniak if he was scared to stand closer to the plate. Moniak said no and started to stand closer to the plate, which allowed him to get in a better stride when swinging. Just like that, Moniak’s swing was fixed and we all witnessed the results over the past month down in Clearwater.
That’s literally all it took to get Mickey Moniak swinging correctly at the plate. What on earth was happening over the past five plus years in the minor leagues?
We have all heard how bad the Phillies farm system is and have seen failed prospect after failed prospect come through the system. Are we sure the right people are in place in the Phillies organization to develop young talent?
If Moniak continues like he did during Spring Training, I will certainly have my doubts.