PHILS INSIDER

Injuries and a need for depth gives Moniak a chance with the Phillies

PHILS INSIDER

From the moment a player is selected in the first round of the baseball draft, the countdown to his arrival in the major leagues starts.

Mickey Moniak arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon, a little over four years after the Phillies picked him No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft.

The 22-year-old outfielder was called up from the Lehigh Valley reserve camp when outfielder Kyle Garlick went on the injured list with an oblique strain, suffered on Tuesday night.

It was another busy day of doctor appointments for the Phillies on Wednesday.

In addition to Garlick, pitcher Jake Arrieta was placed on the IL. He suffered a hamstring strain while delivering a pitch in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's 4-1 win over the New York Mets.

Reliever Connor Brogdon was recalled from Lehigh Valley to fill the roster spot vacated by Arrieta.

Arrieta expressed optimism Tuesday night that he would not miss significant time. However, there is not significant time remaining in the season. The Phils entered Wednesday night's game against the Mets with just 13 games remaining over 12 days. The earliest that Arrieta could return from the IL would be the September 26, the second-to-last day of the season. The best chance of seeing Arrieta again before he heads off to free agency would be in the postseason — provided the Phillies get there and his injury has healed.

The Phillies got Zack Wheeler back from the shelf — he had a torn fingernail on his pitching hand — on Wednesday night but even with him getting three starts (including Wednesday's) down the stretch, the Phils will still have bare spots in the rotation over these final 12 days. In addition to Arrieta, Spencer Howard is also on the injured list. Vince Velasquez, the bullpen and maybe someone like Cole Irvin, currently throwing in Lehigh Valley, will have to pick up some slack over the final days of the season.

 

Moniak and Pat Burrell (1998) are the only two No. 1 overall draft picks in Phillies history.

In 402 games of pro ball, Moniak has not lived up to the hype and expectations that accompany a No. 1 overall pick. He hit .252 with 11 homers, 67 RBIs and a .741 OPS at Double A Reading last season and was expected to move to Triple A before the pandemic shut down minor-league ball this season.

The Phils did not announce their transactions until about an hour before game time, so manager Joe Girardi was not immediately available for comment on his plans for Moniak. 

It's likely that Moniak was called up to provide depth and insurance at three outfield positions. With Jay Bruce on the IL and not due back for a couple of more days, the Phillies are a man down in the outfield. Andrew McCutchen's time in left field is also monitored after he blew out an ACL last year. Moniak can also pinch-hit and pinch-run.

Moniak took the place of veteran utilityman Ronald Torreyes on the 40-man roster. Torreyes was designated for assignment on Tuesday. In recent days and weeks, the Phillies have parted with Torreyes, veteran utilityman Neil Walker and catcher Deivy Grullon. None are stars. None project to have long-term impact. But all provided immediate and competent depth. Without that depth, the Phillies have had to promote a catcher (Rafael Marchan) who never played above Class A and an outfielder (Moniak) who has a lifetime OPS of .692 in the minors. The Phils also signed veterans Greg Bird, a first baseman, and Jonathan Lucroy, a catcher, as insurance on Tuesday.

In addition to Arrieta, Howard and Bruce, the Phils are also without first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who might be out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury that could require surgery, and catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has a hip/quad injury. Realmuto has not played since Saturday. Girardi said he hopes Realmuto can play over the weekend.