With the first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the Philadelphia Phillies selected outfield Mickey Moniak out of high school.
Five years later, in 2021, the Phillies can say that he at least made it to the big leagues in 2020, but it’s clear he hasn’t developed as hoped and has lost some of the star power associated with number one overall picks.
To be precise, Moniak made his MLB debut last year as a 22-year-old, and batted .214/.389/.214 in eight games, with a 87 weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), where 100 is average.
With all that said, Mickey Moniak can still be a reliable contributor for the Phillies, as age is still on his side.
While he may never reach the lofty expectations attached to him ever since the Phillies took him first overall, he can still develop into an everyday outfielder.
Moniak Has Improved As A Hitter
Moniak, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Phillies’ 12th best prospect for the 2021 season, has made strides at the plate.
MLB Pipeline observes that the lefty-hitting outfielder “has shown an ability to impact the baseball more as he’s matured, though it came with a free-swinging approach that has led to rough strikeout-to-walk ratios.”
In the Phillies’ alternate training site last year, they saw a more disciplined hitter, and it showed in his brief MLB cameo, as he drew four walks in 18 plate appearances.
Of course, the sample is extremely small to make any conclusions, but Moniak looks more disciplined, which will allow him to tap into his power.
During Grapefruit League play this year, Moniak has certainly turned some heads, starting with his physique:
Mickey Moniak arrived at Phillies camp visibly bigger and stronger this spring.
And the results have followed. 👀 https://t.co/CnkHE5mESW pic.twitter.com/kxT9cMwtEP
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) March 13, 2021
In 15 plate appearances in spring training, Moniak has batted .400/.400/1.067, and his 1.467 OPS (On Base Plus Slugging Percentage) leads the team so far.
Moniak has hit two home runs, two doubles, and one triple, and if given enough playing time to fully develop against major league pitching, he projects as more of a doubles hitter than a slugger.
#Phillies 2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak showing off some power with his first homer of the spring. pic.twitter.com/OYlaeniAIP
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 4, 2021
Even if that’s the case, he could turn out to be an extremely important contributor for a contending team that happens to need a long-term center fielder.
Speaking of his long-term defensive home, he is capable of playing center field, although he is no Gold Glover.
He is a very good baserunner that can steal between 10 and 15 bases every year with regular playing time.
Mickey Moniak’s 2021 Outlook
The development of his power will likely determine whether he will be a regular center fielder or a fourth outfielder, but there is no denying that Mickey Moniak still carries some upside and can help the Philadelphia Phillies achieve their objectives in 2021.
In some cases, top prospects take more time than usual to fully develop into their best version, and that could potentially be the case with Moniak.
In his last extended action, Moniak showed, in 119 games and 504 plate appearances in Double-A, that he can be an above-average hitter, slashing .252/.303/.439 with a 115 wRC+ (again, any number over 100 is considered above-average.)
Perhaps what Moniak needs is a full slate of at-bats to fully develop into a regular outfielder.
Either way, he has a very good chance of being a contributor for the Phils in 2021.NEXT: Will Bryce Harper Ever Win Another MVP? (Argument)