Mickey Moniak Set To Join Phillies for Series Against San Francisco
According to sources, Phillies center fielder Mickey Moniak is finished with his rehab assignment at AA-Reading and will join the team on Monday in Philadelphia for their three games series against the San Francisco Giants.
Moniak, who has been on the Injured list since suffering a fracture to his hand on the final day of Spring Training, could provide a much needed spark to a team currently 10.5 GB of the division leading Mets. Before the injury Mickey Moniak had already secured a spot on the Opening Day roster and was the odds on favorite to start in center field.
In a rehab assignment that lasted only around ten days, Moniak crushed the pitching in the lower levels, slashing a combined .394/.421/.667 at A-Clearwater and AA-Reading. That’s a great sign for the former #1 overall pick, as wrist injuries can often derail a hitters entire season.
After spending much of the offseason working with new Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long, Moniak looked like a completely different hitter at the plate, slashing 378/.378/.973 during a promising Spring Training run. That opened the eyes of many scouts and fans, who had all but given up on Mickey, after five long years in the minors, in which the young man, burdened with lofty expectations, often struggled.
Moniak is now entering a situation in which unrealistic expectations will once again be placed upon his shoulders, as fans look to anyone to right the sinking ship that is the Phillies season. That just goes to show you how disappointing this team has been, that at 21-27 they are now relying on essentially a rookie to spark the clubhouse.
I would caution everyone to be patient and remember that last season Moniak also struggled over 33 AB, slashing a measly .091/.167/.182 while looking timid and overmatched by big league arms. I genuinely feel like something clicked for Moniak this past offseason, but I am not counting on him to mashing from day one.
The Phillies center field spot has been a mess all season. Matt Vierling, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, and Simon Muzziotti have all failed to cement themselves at the position and they enter the day as a group, ranked 20th in AVG, 25th in OBP, 24th in WAR, and 25th in wRC+. The defensive output has arguably been even worse. As a group, Phillies center fielders are tied for the 2nd most errors in the league, trailing only the lowly Washington Nationals.
But is Moniak a defender capable of helping this team defensively?
The issue is that Moniak doesn’t profile as a traditional center fielder and certainly would fare better in one of the corner spots. But the additions of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber and the injury to Bryce Harper forcing him to DH, doesn’t allow the Phillies any flexibility. Moniak will have to play in center field and his team desperately needs him to play better defensively than what they have been getting so far this season.
If you are keeping track at home, the Phillies are counting on Moniak to improve both their struggling offensive and defensive production in center field. I think it’s more likely that we see a platoon situation with Moniak and Herrera getting the start against left handed pitchers and Roman Quinn getting the nod against most right handers. Odubel, who enters the day with a tidy .333 average against LHP has actually been worse than his career marks against RHP this season hitting .257.
It’s another example of a team that lacks any positional flexibility and in my opinion was poorly assembled by GM Dave Dombrowski. How the team with the 4th highest payroll in the MLB, not have an outfielder who hits right handed pitching well?
Mandatory Image Credit: Clearwater Threshers