You have to keep a lot of things in mind when you evaluate young players who just finished their first full season of professional baseball. Mickey Moniak, who the Phillies selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft, just finished his first full professional season and overall, the numbers weren’t pretty.
In 123 games, Moniak hit for a slash line of 5-44-.236/.284/.341 at Low-A Lakewood. Moniak also whiffed 109 times in 466 at-bats with the BlueClaws.
Are the Phillies worried?
Not if farm director Joe Jordan is any indication. In a podcast with CSNPhilly.com, Jordan spoke glowingly of the 19-year old outfield prospect. “I think if you look at his numbers through July 1, July 15, they were very respectable for a 19-year old hitter out of last year’s draft,” he said. Jordan went on to point out that the South Atlantic League was very pitcher heavy this season and that offense was tough in the league in 2017 because of the high number of quality pitchers in the league.
The first thing to remember is that Moniak just turned 19 in May and he was a full 2 1/2 years younger than the average player at the Low-A level.
Jordan also pointed out that the workload was heavier than Moniak had ever experienced and that he played nearly 100 more games in 2017 than he had ever played in any summer before. While Jordan may have been off on the estimate of the number of games he had played (he played 46 games with Williamsport in 2016 after playing a full high school season and 123 in 2017), the truth is that the workload was much heavier than he had experienced.
Through the first three months of the season, Moniak played in 71 games – roughly the number he played in last season counting high school and the New York – Penn League – Moniak’s numbers were pretty decent. His slash line was a combined 3-29-.271/.322/.396 with the BlueClaws. From there, things went south. Moniak hit just .220 in July and .156 in August. The outfield prospect struck out 60 times in his first 71 games of the season and over the remaining 52 games, he struck out 49 times.
While it would have been encouraging to see Moniak put up stronger numbers at Lakewood, it wasn’t bad as far as first full seasons go. The second half slide likely just means that Moniak will start the 2018 season back at Lakewood, with a mid-season, or earlier, promotion to Clearwater likely depending on what kind of numbers he puts up early in the year.