As was expected for the last week, the Phillies took high school outfielder Mickey Moniak. Moniak is not the top player on anyone’s public big boards, but it does seem like he was at or very near the top of the Phillies’ board. The consensus is that Moniak also saved the Phillies more than any other player as well. The other two players reportedly in play for #1, A.J. Puk and Kyle Lewis, fell all the way to 6 and 11 respectively. But back to Moniak.
Moniak the player is worthy of the #1 pick. Some scouts have thrown a 70 on his hit tool thanks to a lightning quick bat and great feel for mid pitch adjustments. There is a worry about how much power Moniak will hit for. He is not a large guy now and despite his youth (he turned 18 a month ago) he does not have the frame to add a lot of muscle. To add to the lack of size, his quick swing is more geared towards to line drives to the gaps for doubles. Despite all of that, if I personally am going to bet the over on power projection it is going to be on a guy with a good hit tool. Outside of the abilities at the plate, Moniak is at least a plus runner and he put up some plus plus times towards the end of the season, and he should steal a good amount of bases. The reason that Moniak is so safe is his glove. Scouts think he can be at least a plus defender in center thanks to his speed and excellent route running. He has a solid arm as well, making the whole package a long term impactful one up the middle.
Moniak is more polished than J.P. Crawford was in 2016 and Crawford is on the cusp of the majors at about 3 years after he was drafted. That means his ETA is probably around 2019 if everything goes right. The big thing to watch is how much he hits for power and how he fills out, but he should hit the ground running. Moniak has already said he will sign soon, which should have him ready to go for opening day of the GCL season. Crawford got a cup of coffee in Lakewood to end his year, and the Phillies almost promoted Cornelius Randolph last year, so a late season trip to Lakewood or Williamsport would not be surprising at all.
So how does Moniak fit into the system? He is definitely behind Crawford. Him vs Nick Williams is good argument. Williams is in AAA and has shown some holes, but he also has big upside. I think right now I would take Williams over Moniak. After Williams you have Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Jorge Alfaro. Despite the relative proximity to the majors, I think Moniak’s upside is too much to pass up vs those guys. That makes Moniak the best true center fielder in the organization, the second best outfielder, and third best hitter. There is a chance he could leap Williams with a strong end of the year. It is also possible that everyone graduates and he ends up as the top prospect in the system.
As for the rest of the draft, the Phillies will probably save at least $3M with Moniak and probably closer to $4M. That is more than anyone that has fallen down the board (currently pick 36) will demand. That means the Phillies will be able to spread the money across multiple rounds.