series

Mickey Moniak feels the blessing and curse of being No. 1 overall pick

series

As baseball's offseason takes shape, we will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2020 roster and where they fit in the future. We'll go through the roster by uniform number, lowest to highest for position players, highest to lowest for pitchers, and alternate daily.

Today: Outfielder Mickey Moniak

Career rundown

After putting up middling numbers — a .265 batting average, .692 OPS, 22 homers and 194 RBIs — over four minor-league seasons, he made his major-league debut when the Phillies needed outfield depth in 2020.

How he became a Phillie

Moniak was the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. He and Pat Burrell (1998) are the only two No. 1 overall selections the Phillies have had.

2020 season

Moniak looked over his head in his big-league cameo in 2020. He had three hits (all singles) in 14 at-bats, struck out six times and walked four times. Defensively, he made two errors in left field.

What lies ahead

Being the No. 1 overall pick in a draft can be a blessing and a curse. Moniak will always be judged harshly because he was the first overall pick in a draft that has so far produced pitchers Shane Bieber (the likely AL Cy Young winner in 2020), Ian Anderson, Dakota Hudson, Zac Gallen, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, outfielders Nick Senzel and Kyle Lewis, infielders Gavin Lux, Bo Bichette, Pete Alonso and Alex Kirilloff and catcher Will Smith.

Though Moniak was loaded with upside as a high school player in Southern California, he was not necessarily the best prospect in the 2016 draft and those who bash him should be cognizant of that. The Phillies, under first-year GM Matt Klentak, tried to get creative with their bonus money by getting Moniak to agree to an under-slot deal of $6.1 million. That allowed them to strike an over-slot deal of $3.5 million with highly regarded pitcher Kevin Gowdy, their second-round pick. The Phillies thought they had engineered a coup by luring both players away from their commitments to UCLA, but it hasn't worked out that way. Moniak's ceiling appears to be as a fourth outfielder and Gowdy, who turns 23 in November, has endured elbow reconstruction surgery and pitched just 86 professional innings.

 

Moniak will never shed the harsh glare that comes with being a No. 1 overall pick. He just needs to stay in his lane, become the best player he can be and let others focus on where he was picked.

Moniak clearly needs more minor-league time to reach his ceiling, no matter how modest it may be. He won't turn 23 until May, so he's still relatively young. To put that in perspective, he is seven months younger than shortstop Bryson Stott, the Phillies' top pick in the 2019 draft and a player most everyone is high on.

Subscribe to the Phillies Talk podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube