Mickey Moniak and the 70 Hit Tool

Here’s another article submitted by one our readers.  I received it Tuesday, but didn’t get around to reading it until this morning.  So, some of the data will be a couple days out of date, but nowhere near enough to invalidate the premise stated.

As always, neither the statistical opinions stated in a submitted article nor the interpretations of same are those of the staff here at Phuture Phillies.

Mickey Moniak and the 70 Hit Tool

by V1again

Everyone needs to dramatically lower expectations on Mickey Moniak. He is not a future star. IMO, his peak value is a poor man’s Odubel. Here is my argument.

First, I was a big fan of the Mickey Moniak pick. So this is a mea culpa. And I know he is only 19..but that is not as much of an excuse for his poor performance as you may think..at least for elite prospects.

His value as a 1:1 pick (and thus a possible star) was entirely due to a 70 hit tool projection. He has good, but not elite speed and will likely slow down as he adds weight. He will never have more than 40/45 power. His defense is good, but I don’t hear reports of a future gold glover. So it all comes back to the 70 hit tool. Does he have a 70 hit tool or not?

Since I am not a scout, I looked online into what a 70 hit tool really is. I found this article:  http://www.fangraphs.com/ blogs/scouting-explained-the- 20-80-scouting-scale/

It is a good article. In order to have a 70 hit tool, you have to hit.300+ in the majors. Not one season. Across a career. It probably should focus on OB% rather than BA, but it is good enough for now.

I then looked at the minor league numbers of those who have a 70 hit tool in the majors. By the way, many of them were 19 in low A (killing the “he’s so young argument”). Here is what I found:

  • All of them killed low A
  • All of them had low k rates and very high walk rates in the minors. Particularly in the low minors. Some of them actually had a higher walk rate than k rate in low A.
  • Many of them had very low ISOs, so it wasn’t like they had a lot of power and pitchers feared them. They just had an elite eye.

That was basically across the board. I also found, with rare exception (Mookie Betts):

  • All of them had about a 4-6% higher k rate in the majors than in AAA.
  • K rate basically always goes up from low A.
  • Walk rate is basically the same as minor league production.

My theory on hitting is that all a hitter can do is make hard contact in pitches in the zone.

As of this writing, Moniak has two red flags:

  1. A 21.5% k rate, and
  2. A 6.3% walk rate.

Those are not elite by any stretch. Neither is really good to be honest. His BABIP is higher than his OB%, which is not good. It means he is likely lucky to have the OB% that he has, which at .312 is not good.

As a comp, Mookie Betts was 19 years old in Low A. His walk rate was 11% and his K rate was 10% and his ISO was .04. The next year in high A his walk rate was 17%, his k rate was 12% and his ISO was .181. That is what an elite hit tool looks like.

Another comp, Christian Yelich.  As a 19yo in low A, Yelich had a 10.6% walk rate, a 19.6% k rate with a 171 ISO and 32 stolen bases. He hit 312/388/484. Again, that is what an elite hit tool looks like in low A.

As a player moves up, the pitching gets better. So if you can’t hit Low A, you are in trouble.

I would also say Mickey’s 3rd red flag is that he isn’t improving as the year is going on. On the contrary, his July numbers are his worst. They are just awful. Look at the top hitting prospects, all of them improved at each level as the year went on.

Now, I am not saying Mickey is a bust. And I know he is only 19. What I am saying is that his performance indicates that he does not have an elite hitting tool.

So what is he? Well, the chart says that a 60 hit tool is a .280 career hitter. That sounds like his peak value to me. So let’s go with the profile of 60 hit, 40/45 power, 55 speed, 60 defense in center (60 arm). That is a good player. A productive player. A player who one year might make an All-star team at 28/29 years old. But not an elite player by any stretch.

You know who that sounds like?

Last year Odubel hit 286/361/420 with 15 homers and 25 stolen bases. That is a 60 hit / 45 power profile according to Fangraphs’ chart. Odubel also played really good CF defense (let’s call it a 60, but again, I am not a scout). The 25 stolen bases separates him from Mickey. I don’t see Mickey doing that in the majors but maybe. Hopefully. And hopefully Moniak can get to 15 homers in the majors.

One last comp, as a 19 year old in low A, Odubel had a 15.4% k rate, 4.8% bb rate and hit 306/349/394 with 34 stolen bases. He did that with only an .088 ISO. Those numbers blow away Mikey’s performance this year to be honest.

Power always fills in with age, but contact ability doesn’t. It is what it is. Mickey does not have a 70 hit tool. I hope he has a 60 hit tool. I believe that he will be a productive major league player, but has no chance of being a star.

I wrote this article because I like Mikey. I am NOT a “hater.” And I sincerely hope that I come to regret putting this in writing. I wrote this article because I want you to enjoy him for what he is. Don’t hold his 1:1 draft pick against him.


137 thoughts on “Mickey Moniak and the 70 Hit Tool

  1. Great piece. Great players — or very good players — are dominant at 19 at any level. When you draft 1:1, you expect to get a very good players. The Phillies didn’t.

  2. This is a very well-reasoned argument that is depressing me and I hope ends up not accurately predicting Moniak’s career arc (but probably will).

    Many things concern me about drafting high school hitters with top picks. The first is that, with high schoolers, it is incredibly difficult to predict how a guy will fare against professional pitchers. Yes, there are show cases and maybe you get some idea – but an accurate picture about whether a guy is going to be able discern a ball from a strike on a good breaking pitches and hit the one solidly that ends up in the strike zone? I don’t know about that and it’s awfully risky. So many great athletes cannot do this because it’s a gift I’m not entirely sure you can learn. Second, is that you don’t know how that player will mature and fill out.

    I think the best hope for Moniak is that he actually fills out and begins driving the ball well because it sounds like if we are waiting for him to be a .300 hitter or have a super high walk rate – well, that day probably will not come.

    I also wonder if they failed to take the BPA because they wanted to save money to sign another kid in the second round. I have no idea if that’s what they did or did not do but if they did it, it’s stupid philosophy on the whole. When you are picking 1/1 you get the best kid out there and sign him and not hope some guy is there in the second round for an overslot pay and this draft (Moniak underachieving, Gowdy injured) is a pretty good example of why you should not do this.

    1. I agree you take the best player at 1:1 not try to save cash so you can get two ok players.
      I hope V 1 is wrong but the numbers MM is putting up are not encouraging to make me think he will be a future superstar.

  3. I don’t want to pile on Moniak, but he was the player that was heavily scouted multiple times by the Phillies brain trust. We were even told that he played in perhaps the best high school league in the country. And yet, his inability to hit off speed pitches, and make consistent contact against LHP is constantly excused by people because he is young, or he his still growing, or he is in his first season of full season ball. I would love to see him get hot and finish the season strong. He should have a better understanding of the pitching in the SAL. But enough with the young for the league. Sixto Sanchez is young for the league, and yet he has no problem.

  4. Not sure Mickey can put on another 15-20 pounds that easily. And I’m not sure I want him to become some weightlifting and supplement fanatic. He will put on weight and strength naturally as he grows older. That is the best way, not muscling him up like he is lifting in the Olympics.

    I agree with a lot of what the article states. Moniak has some definite talent but nothing stands out right now that shows he was worth 1.1. I would like to see him develop naturally and if he becomes a gap hitter with a high average and OBP then that isn’t the end of the world.

    Also, either Moniak or Haseley will eventually be traded. I can’t see both of them playing for the Phillies at the same time.

  5. Well at least we’re not drawing career conclusions from one full season of professional baseball.

    1. I thought Moniak was a solid pick at 1-1. As the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do?

      1. I don’t draw conclusions like “but has no chance of being a star” after 600 MiLB ABs.

        1. Let’s say this…if he becomes a star, he will have had the worst Low A performance of any star that I found. But you are right, nothing is impossible. Just highly unlikely.

          But if you read my post, the point is to lower expectations. Odubel is a very good MLB player. A lot of value.

  6. V1, great post.

    Moniak looks like a second-round pick might look — should play in the majors, likely will be productive, but no super-elite tool.

    1. Yes. This is my point. If he was a second round pick people would be very happy with “holding his own” at 19.

      My point is expectations are off. Enjoy him for who he is. Likely to be a very productive MLB player but not a star.

      1. In regards to the video, anybody have a comment on his lower hand and how he grips the bat? It looks to me that he needs to be looser with his lower hand. He is “choking” the bat with the lower hand. Just my opinion.

  7. Perhaps this is why the Phillies (reportedly) are so interested in Christian Yelich. From within the upper levels of the FO, Moniak may no longer be seen as the bankable prospect they originally thought…

  8. First, I would like to salute you for putting this out there.

    But second, this is not particularly persuasive work. The first warning sign went up when you wrote that Moniak “will likely slow down as he adds weight.” You can’t just assert that without backing it up. What 19 year old doesn’t gain weight? Do they all slow down? And if they do, then Moniak’s relative speed figures to hold up since no one stays 19 forever (citations omitted).

    On power, I challenge you to say what Moniak’s upside on that is. Two guys I follow, Jake Cave and Billy McKinney are given a FV of 45 for power by mlb.com. Cave in AAA is slugging ,675 while McKinney is .660. For comparison purposes, Hoskins is slugging .570 at the same level, same league. My point is that it is far too soon to forecast what Moniak’s power potential is, the same holds true for hitting. You can’t downgrade his speed based on his age. That makes no sense.

    I don’t stock in the guy and I’m not related to him but I don’t see anything here that would cause a scout to say at this point “Gee, maybe we got it wrong on Moniak.”

    1. Yes, adding body mass to a frame is negatively correlated to speed.


      Impossible to project power with 100% accuracy. Just going off every scouting report on him including that of Almarez who said he would hit ~15 homers at peak. That is code for 45 power tool.

      Body frame impacts ability to add power. Mikey’s frame is not one that will add bulk.

      He was drafted for his hit tool, 60 defense in center and good speed. But his carrying tool was supposed to be a 70 bat. That is the key to his profile.

      1. This is not exactly true . . . there are a number of different ways to increase your muscle mass and increase your speed.

    2. cave and mckinney have 42 and 27 games played in AAA respectively, and career minor league slugging of around .425.

      1. Could be outlier data as you imply. Could be data in support of the ‘light bulb’ theory when young players (like Moniak) get their power game together. Could be a reflection of some able (Yankee) coaching of young outfielders whose power is blowing up:

        2016 SLG %

        Aaron Judge .345

        Aaron Hicks .338

        Clint Frazier .447

        Jake Cave .427

        Billy McKinney .338

        2017 SLG %

        Aaron Judge .628

        Aaron Hicks .515

        Clint Frazier .510

        Jake Cave .610

        Billy McKinney .503

        Would I want in on that? You bet. Can you rule out something similar for Moniak? I can’t.

  9. I love to hear from some scouts. The number right now tell a different story, then what we were told on this kid. Tough league, good contact. but his numbers aren’t good at all. so where are the scouts, what did they see? The final thing is did our gm pick this kid over others or was it a combine pick by all the brass. just wondering. right now by numbers alone he doesn’t look like a top pick. I hope it changes but it seems it will be real hard, Hope they get the pick right this year. Cause if they keep running out Thompson we will pick first

    1. Not sure if you consider Winkelman a scout, but I think he is pretty great judge of talent:

      1. That makes one of us. The Winkler never strays far from the other prospect company’s ie BA, BP. Somethings I think it’s taken word for word. If it wasn’t for cat being go god damn cute 🐱

    2. Ssssshhh you are lowering his trade value!

      It is a fair early observation. I hope you are wrong, as you can provide arguments for both sides im sure.

      One thing that may not show up on the stat sheet is the pressure one puts on themselves for being the #1 pick overall. Not to mention when your friend tattoos his butt in your honor

  10. I guess it is all doom and gloom for MM.
    Then again I look at the 2015 1.1….and I guess that is doom and gloom also now.

    1. NO!!! Not Doom and Gloom.

      I clearly say that I think that he will be a productive MLB player.

      Odubel is a multi-year 4 war player. That is not an insult to comp him to that type of player. That is a very, very valuable player.

      I am saying that he is unlikely to be a star. Not a 5-8 time all star. But a fringe all-star for many years.

      I think he has a very high floor. Just not an elite high ceiling.

      That is my point.

      1. Which I think is a very good result to have.
        But as many will post…”but he is the 1.1 and that is not what should be expected.”
        And then I see, take the BPA, if MM was not the BPA, then who could that have been.
        Nick Senzel I suppose? Since many after MM are not tearing up any leagues
        Carter Kieboom way down below in the first, and then there is 2nd rounder Bo Bichette.
        IMO, I have no concerns with MM. he was one of the youngest taken in the draft and that has been proven over time they tend to mature a little later than most, however when they catch up they seem to prosper more than most.

        1. senzel is a nice player but phils would have been criticized for not picking a solid player but probably not a star. I would have gone Groome but he’s been very shaky. Puk had the red flag of control/command issues. You could say they had the misfortune of having the #1 in the wrong season.

      2. Whatever the evidence for condemning a 19 year old on performance to date you sure don’t have it.

          1. I don’t know why you think I was responding to you. I read the original posting, as a critique, a condemnation, or some similar word for Moniak’s performance this year. I don’t believe now is the time to make that definitive a judgment on the career of a 19 year old. Posters on this site I find characteristically mindful of sample size. I think it applies in this case.

            I think the light bulb goes on for some hitters who have displayed good eye hand coordination and the ability to adjust. The farm systems of MLB teams are littered with prospects whose early performance are not in keeping with their draft status. Someone offering a bad report card on Moniak or some other highly-regarded prospect, would need to show some bad, hard-to-fix habits, a bad attitude, or the effects of a serious injury to be persuasive. Guys move up and down the prospect boards all the time.

            I asked myself whether the original posting offered a scout reasons to re-evaluate Moniak and quickly concluded that it wouldn’t.

            1. I don’t think you actually read the post because it is far from a condemnation. 60 hit, 45 power, 60 defense is not being negative on a player.

  11. Some of the comments on here are absurd. No one is “condemning” Moniak.

    Is it OK for Sixto Sanchez to move up prospect rankings based on his performance this year? Matt Winkleman put him at #1 in his midseason rankings, and he had been # 6 in his preseason rankings.

    If it’s OK for a prospect to move up in rankings based on performance, why is it not OK for a prospect to move down in the rankings, also based on performance?

    This is a pretty good list: http://philliesminorthoughts.com/2017-midseason-phillies-rankings/

  12. If not for the Mea Culpa – this article is written with hyprocrisy. I’m a big proponent of acquiring elite players (Otani, Trout, Machado in particular) thru trade and FA. I posted a comment about need to include Sixto and Moniak in a trade for Trout. v1again, thumbed me down and said that you can’t trade a player with 80 grade FB (Sixto) and 80 grade (Moniak) whether it is for Trout. This was only 4-6 weeks ago when v1again said that. From 80 grade to suddenly a Doobie best case in evaluation in 4-6 weeks is a quick turn around.

    I’ve been in the field (finance) where professional skepticism and judgment is a daily practice. Changing your opinion to the other side in such a short notice is — just can’t say the word. Having a discussion with v1again regarding Moniak and hit tool, this article of his sounds like a piece of frustration rather than an objective evaluation to come up with a conclusion.

    I’m also not a scout. But spend a lot of time talking to baseball people (because I love the sport). The consistent talk I’ve keep hearing is that in the low minors, you take the numbers in a grain of salt. Coaches are more particular on the aspects (i.e. how players adjust, physical limitations, etc) that cannot be “quantified” by are very visible to the eye. The summarization of statistics is normally being done by “interns” and the ones who cares about it are the national outlets since they don’t have the same access to the players itself.

    I said before that numbers or statistics are double edge sword. Numbers can give you different results depending on the sample, outliers and focus you want to do. I said that I because I crunch numbers daily as a profession.

    v1again, no you are not a hater. But you are obviously disappointed with Moniak’s production as most of us here.

    1. Show me where I said Moniak had a “80 grade hit tool”. Prove your argument. You can’t because that never happened.

      I was high on Moniak. I believed the hype. And then I did research and changed my opinion.

      Call me whatever you want.

      1. it was only 4-6 weeks ago. i’m not sure if I can still dig it in this site. but you responded to my post about trading for Trout which I mentioned to include Sixto and Moniak. I may get the exact word you said but you replied —- You cannot trade a prospect with 80 FB and 80 Hit Tool and implied say in another reply that regardless if it is Trout or not.

      2. v1again – I might have overstated the 80 Hit Tool but back in March you did mentioned that Moniak is untoucheable since kids with 70 Hit Tool don’t grow in trees. This is when Moniak is still viewed highly by everybody.

        Our exchange here is quite interesting because you don’t want to trade Sixto and Moniak even for Mike Trout. I understand that you changed your opinion because of your “research” I just think there’s a big loophole in your research to come up with a reasonable conclusion.


        1. I really do not understand the point of your comment. I learned more over the last 6 weeks to change my view. Why is that impossible? You seem really defensive about an exchange we had a while ago and are really missing the point of this post.

  13. I just want to echo the positive sentiments around publishing the piece and framing an argument. The site is better when we constructively build a dialogue.

    As far as Mickey’s case, I’m certainly in lock-step with V1. I’ve seen Moniak play seven or eight times and watched him practice much more than that. An Odubel outcome is a reasonable expectation, perhaps even a best case scenario in my truly humble opinion.

    I think the Phillies draft strategy was sound but the final judgement is still a few years away. Remember that we were able to draft Gowdy, who has really yet to pitch, with the ‘savings’ we obtained by drafting Mickey 1:1.

    1. The Phillies did not “save” money by drafting MM and paying him $6.1M. The only player receiving a higher bonus that year was Senzel at #2 and he only received $100,000 more. The next highest bonus was Riley Pint at $4.8M. To say the Phillies saved money is to imply nobody other than Moniak would have accepted the embarrassing amount of $6.1M.

      The Phillies brass (McKlentak, MacPhail, Gillick, Manuel, Almaraz) thought MM was the #1 prospect and negotiated an amount that both parties could live with. If Moniak’s reps would have demanded $7.5M and not budged then the Phillies would have gone to Plan B.

      MM needs to be judged based on his 1.1 draft status and not as the only kid the Phillies could find that would take $6.1M.

      1. I don’t disagree with this. In fact, it’s a point that’s been made numerous times on this site. My point was that we should also factor Gowdy into the Moniak equation. Regardless of who we took 1:1, our ability to spend over slot in the second round is inextricably linked to the first pick.

  14. I also want to add that I think it’s almost a consensus assumption that the minors is not about wins-losses and statistics. minors is about development that’s why baseball people are more focused on tools and physical abilities rather that sabermetrics. reasons to quantify value of prospects is for a) ranking purposes (national outlets) and b) trade purposes.

    i’m also sure that if v1again expanded the population of the data/statistics he used, there will be players/prospects that busts despite of very good stats (same stats he used) and there will be players/prospects that succeed despite of non-elite stats.

    1. Kurdt, I do agree that the minors are about development more than wins and losses. However, with regards to Moniak, he has regressed as this year has gone on. If his walk to strikeout ratio improved as the season went along, people would feel better about his future. You were at Sunday’s game? He handled Kyle Cody, but was struck out on sliders down and in. The league adjusted to him, he has not adjusted to the pitchers. His ability to control at bats was a selling point by the team. He has not shown that ability in Low-A.

      1. @Thomas – yup, I watched the Sunday game and posted my review here in the Boxscore section. Moniak looks better the 1st time I saw him back in May and I did say that I saw shades of Tocci (when was struggling in LWD).

        I agree with all the concerns about Moniak (FWIW he is not even my guy at 1.1), but I don’t normally make any assessments of any prospects(A+ below which I also mentioned here) and use “statistics in isolation” (pick and chose the stats that only support your opinion).

        if you’re going to ask me, my main concern for A-ball guys (hitters particularly the teenagers) are: a) want to see the consistency in their approach and how are they are working on it; b) how they physically respond to full season rigors including the travel; and c) they can prove they can play health for full season.

        I don’t want to use Kyle Cody as example (since i don’t example in isolation) and he was dealing last Sunday. Cody completely befuddled an older and more ready batter in Darrick Hall but it didn’t change my opinion of Darrick Hall.

        1. Let’s take last nights game, for example. i don’t think he saw more than 2 pitches per AB in his first three trips to the plate. No working the count, no fouling off pitches to get a pitch he likes. I would venture to guess that his pitches per AB would be higher earlier in the season than it is now. If true, is it a product of him being impatient, or a flaw in his approach. At this stage of the season, he should be trending upward just for the fact that he is familiar with the pitchers in the league. And yet, all numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

    2. Yes. Minor leagues are about development. But if you look at statistics you can see high correlation to certain stats.

      The average MLB hitter has 20/13 vision. Elite hitters have better vision. What seems like a blur to you and me seems like a softball to them. That is why k rate and walk rate are such a great indicator.

      1. v1again – being a finance guy, the population of the statistics is crucial to me to make the numbers make sense. this is the reason why I rarely discuss sabermetrics because I know I don’t have a sufficient sample size (from the whole population) to analyze the numbers and make a conclusions.

        I think it’s normal to agree to disagree, but to come up with a conclusion using numbers in isolation is really shallow knowing the fact that there is really no mathematical equation to determine or predict the success of any player.

        Opportunity + skills proved more as a recipe to success rather than numbers. All of those numbers you use are historical and after the fact.

        “Methodology” is what will make the numbers/statistics relevant because it outlines all the assumptions, outliers and basis to formulate a conclusion. Simple mathematics is the biggest mistake in analyzing numbers.

  15. I don’t really care about projections. Sometimes a player takes a while to develop. We can use comparables, but every single player is different. We are all fans and none of us are scouts. I don’t think anybody saw 1:1 Mickey Moniak and thought, “big star!”

    It’s just ridiculous to waste time speculating. A 19-year old kid in low-A who doesn’t even shave yet. Come on.

      1. I think it’s your smile that turns some people off 😏”Hey let me show you this 2017 Ford, best deal on the lot!”😏

        1. Not sure who “people” are. Certainly it is women who get turned off by my smile. Maybe insecure men who troll online with anonymous accounts get turned off by my face but I don’t really care about them.

            1. Can’t take a joke? You can always tell when a joke is rooted in true when someone gets offended. I’m sure you rack up the ladies like Moniak racks up the HR. 😂 You have do admit that you do kind of look like a used car sales men, in your picture at least.

    1. Lol. The only guy, in a male-dominant site, that has the need to put up a picture of himself. He also cannot take any criticism or negative comments as he is always quick to defend himself. It’s also kind of weak when you have to defend yourself and profess your success with women on an Internet blog when no one even questioned it in the first place. And if you are that successful, you wouldn’t have time to to be doing little research projects about 18-year old boys in low-A ball. But whatever.

      The piece itself is good, but doesn’t list ALL of the players who have had major-league success and limited Minor Legue success in Low-A. He uses phrases like, “players I’ve looked at” and such. I’m sure there are outliers and exceptions. Shoot, Sixto Sanchez has a 65-grade fastball and Aaron Judge had a 60-grade power. I don’t remember seeing anywhere that Mickey Mo had a 70-grade hit tool. Most of us still remember Domonic Brown, who was as high as third and at times behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

      I really don’t think anybody believed Mickey Moniak had a potential 70-grade hit tool. When he was projected to go anywhere between 5th and 12th in mock drafts and we grab him 1:1, we pretty much knew he wasn’t going to be an elite hitter. Writing an article to tell people to temper their expectations is just redundant. This was written by a fan who has a lot of time in their hands, hoping to get recognized in some way for his work.

  16. A good comp for Mickeys age 19 season would Ryne Sandbergs which was very similar—-he became a Hall of Famer so hope springs eternal 🙂

    1. this is my hesitation to accept a conclusion based on using numbers in isolation. i’m sure that if all of us have access to the whole population of statistics, we will find a lot of HOF, All-stars and MLB that didn’t have the same numbers that v1again used, and there will be busts that have similar if not better than the numbers used in v1again analysis.

      We can make comparables and analogy but it is hard to make hard conclusions based on limited population.

      This is based on pure observation and discussion with Phillies enthusiasts, if Moniak becomes Tocci but with more power, that is still a valuable piece in any MLB team.

  17. I think most superstar players separate themselves quickly so it is difficult to predict elite hitting from Moniak at this point. Since generally an elite position player has either hit or power carrying tools the ‘defense and speed’ are not going to distinguish him.
    I’d have preferred a Harper level player (Bryant would be acceptable); it may turn out that no such player was in the Top10.

    Phillies may check on Moniak’s trade value, it will be interesting if they are concerned enough to sell him early in his career.

    1. Why is the bar a superstar player? Guess that’s the real issue with Moniak, expectations. When he was drafted 1.1 I don’t remember anyone claiming he was going to be a superstar. As I’ve stated before, Moniak’s “failure” is being the 1st overall pick in a weak draft.

      If the Phillies claimed he had a 70 hit tool, then blame the Phillies for trying to oversell justification for the pick. As Romus points out, no-one from the 1st round of that draft has really taken off..

      I have no problem if Moniak becomes an Odubel Herrera level CF talent. That would be a successful draft pick…

      1. UM Kyle Lewis is killing it pretty good in High A right now and that is after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL

        1. Really, he’s 21 years old and has played 12 games in A+ so far. But yes, he’s been pretty good in those 43 at-bats…

          1. Actually turned 22 last month.
            This may be the Mariners’ way of letting him gain some confidence before promoting him to whatever season is left to their double AA affiliate.

          2. You know me 3UP I’m just being a stooge for a bit 🙂

            Lewis was the guy I liked most.

            1. No problem. Funny thing is that when Moniak was drafted, I really had no opinion one way or the other about him as a pick. There were probably about 5-6 guys who would have been just as good in my opinion (Lewis was one of them). I just have issues with those claiming to know how a 19 year old HS draft pick is going to turn out by using selected stats from some other player at the same age.

              Moniak was picked #1 overall which comes with certain expectations, especially from the casual fan but would expect the regulars on this site who follow the minors much more closely to understand that he was picked #1 by default more than because he was head and shoulders above everyone else. Most drafts just don’t have a Bryce Harper type of player available.

              I have no problem with this article because the point it makes is that expectations need to be lowered.

  18. Since I don’t really have a strong opinion either way on Moniak I will refrain from chiming in on this piece….

    1. In all seriousness….if you want to see what an elite prospect looks like in the low minors look no further than Moniak’s own teammate.

      Sixto Sanchez is the same age (young for his league!!!!!) and is both showing fantastic results and receiving fantastic reports from scouts and evaluators. You can’t say the same about Moniak.

      Bottom-line, he does have to be judged harsher since he was the first pick in the draft. I don’t think anyone is calling him a bust yet. I hope not anyway. Like people have said he is 19 and is in Low-A ball.

      But if you say you aren’t worried about him right now, then you are lying to yourself or you are lying to the rest of us. All the warning signs are there. At this point we all just have to hope he comes back strong next year and looks like a different hitter. Because a different hitter is what he needs to be to at all justify his high prospect ranking and his status as #1 overall pick.

      And unfortunately I think you have to seriously consider starting him at Lakewood again next year. Has he done enough to warrant a promotion to Clearwater? Maybe you just keep pushing him along. I mean Randolph had a pedestrian half season in Lakewood and they moved him along.

      That brings up another question. How many future first division major leaguers repeated a level in the minors? I honestly don’t know the answer to that, and it’s probably not even that relevant, but would be interesting to know….

      1. I not worried it’s based upon what you expected out of a 19 yr old in low A . Mickey Mo has a get head on His shoulder’s I’m really not worried about him. It’s Really hard to compare a pitcher to a hitter .

  19. One last comment on this to summarize.

    First, it is worth clarifying that the 70 hit tool is extremely rare. Maybe more rare than any other tool. If you look at data, you can see some consistent patterns. No one can predict the future. Any opinion is based on probability. Players with elite hit tools have a common characteristic in that they swing at strikes (and not balls) far more than other players and they barrel the ball more than other players. They simply don’t miss the ball much. My opinion is that it is based on abnormal vision. I have read reports that Bonds had 20/10 vision for example. Thus, while I believe many tools (power, defense) can be improved, I don’t think you can improve to achieve a 70 hit tool. You either have that innate ability to make elite levels of contact or you don’t. Again, I am only talking about a 70 hit tool.

    Finally, it is not a slight to comp a player to a 4-war player. I know we all like to comp minor leaguers to hall of famers but that basically never happens. I am not down on Mickey. On the contrary. I think that he will be a very productive major league player with a high likelihood of achieving that level. I just don’t think that he is a future star. Let’s just enjoy him for who he is, not be upset that he isn’t Bryce Harper.

  20. Thank-you v1again.Good research and article..
    First division regulars in our system..right now it doesn’t look like many..With all of the high draft picks they have had lately,is there even one all star in the bunch?

  21. Interesting piece and interesting reactions to it. I for one am open to any possibility. Just look at Aaron Altherr today and tell me you would have predicted this type of a hitter out of his MiLB progression.

    Then I too also believe that true super star players (which is what one should expect from a 1:1) do not struggle at all in their low minors career. Yeah occassionaly you’ll find an anomaly.

    Juxtapose Harpers age 18 season in which is was in A and AA .304/394 then his 19 season he’s in AAA for 21 games with a pedestrian 243/325 and then in the MLB the same season for 139 games 270/340. Can you imagine that?

    Also look at Bradley Zimmer who is really starting to make his mark in the MLB and what an extra two years at college may have done for him. He started in low minors at the age of 21.

    Would it be possible to forget the name Mickey Moniak for another two season and just start to judge him from 21 on?

    So again I am open to any possible outcome but still would have taken Lewis with that pick. And I will never be critical of MM he didn’t pick himself 1:1.

  22. A little late to the party here, but I found this post by v1again to be very well thought out and written. It’s a bit of a bummer, but it’s not necessarily doom and gloom. There are certainly high expectations for a first overall pick and right now Mickey Mo is not living up to them. That doesn’t mean he’s a bust. In fact, he could very well have a successful and above-average MLB career, just not a star player.

    At least that’s my takeaway.


  23. I’m disappointed by Moniak’s season, but I don’t know if his numbers are all that far off from similar comps.

    Moniak is hitting .256/.308/.368. The Mookie Betts comp is a little misleading because he spent his age 19 season in the NYPL, which is a level down. Moniak is certainly behind Yelich though. Since we’re talking about his hit tool, here are guys who hit .298 or better in the majors and spent their age 19 season in an equivalent league:

    Magglio Ordonez hit .218/.264/.330 in the Sally.
    Mike Greenwell hit .278/.366/.386 in the Carolina league.
    Reggie Jefferson (?) hit .288/.351/.451 in the MW league
    Matt Holliday hit .264/.350/.435 in the Sally
    Cecil Cooper hit .297/.320/.387
    Placido Polanco hit .266/.303./.324 in the MWL.

    This isn’t a comprehensive list, since it’s tough to find guys who are an exact match to what we’re looking for, but I also didn’t leave anyone out who I found. Moniak hasn’t hit as well as most of those guys, but he’s not totally out of place with that group and has a month’s worth of games left. He’s also a fairly “young” 19. I’m more concerned with the scouting reports than the stats, but I don’t know if I’ve seen enough yet to lower my expectations.

      1. but my concern lies around his k rate and walk rate. not his ops. i know that he doesn’t have power and i expect that power to fill in. but to have a 70 hit tool, you need elite contact ability and he hasn’t shown that.

        1. That’s a good point and I didn’t have time to check his K and BB rates against the players above.

    1. Otero…..I like your logic. Spot on
      And agree….the age factor does mean something when you look at overall development. BP studies have shown the younger takes longer, but when they grasp it , they surpass peer draft mates who were older at the time of the draft.

    2. You are making my point. Those guys are not “stars”. They are quality MLB players.

      I would take a Matt Holliday outcome for Mickey right now. He was an extremely productive mlb hitter. but not a star.

      1. Well, yes, those players weren’t stars (maybe Magglio for a few years), but we were talking hit tool. If Holliday and Ordonez, or even Greenwell and Cooper, were good CFs, you would definitely have a star player.

  24. The problem, I think, is that we are lacking in elite talent. Sixto and Kingery are our 2 best prospects, and some of us can still squint and hope and see JP as a future All Star. So, Mickey at 1.1 is expected to be a future All Star, although he never proclaimed himself to be that or declared he had a 70 hit tool. If he makes the Majors and plays every day on a Playoff team, that is a great outcome. The same burden will be on next year’s guy if we hold off the WSox and pick 1.1 again. I think v1 did a terrific job with his piece and made it very clear he is not suggesting Mickey is a bust and is, in fact, rooting for him. Somebody earlier said “can we forget about him for 2 years and get back to him then?” I agree.

    1. Yes, it’s the issue we’ve all been concerned about.

      There’s nothing wrong with B level prospects but, on the whole, B level prospects either don’t make the majors or turn into C level major leaguers (Exhibit A – Tommy Joseph, although there are others). There are exceptions of course and the Phillies tried to reach the exceptions by having so many B level prospects that, by the law of averages, some pan out and become promising major leaguers. Nick Pivetta is a good example of this, as is Aaron Altherr and Cesar Hernandez.

      That said, the GOAL is to have as many A level prospects as possible because these are the guys who become difference-makers on a major league team.

      The importance of having these A listers cannot be overstated. If you go back and look at the Phillies’ minor league system from the mid-90s through around 2007, it wasn’t very prolific in that it produced few major leaguers at all. But among the few it produced were several first tier regulars and stars and it made the team into a good team and then a WS contender over a 10-12 year period (not one bad team in that whole run).

  25. Thanks to v1again for contributing and to Jim for running this interesting article!

    So hindsight after a year being 20/20ish, who would have been the best choice at 1:1?

  26. Thanks for the article, it was a very interesting read. I’m not sure if you’re saying anything different than my own expectation at this point. Unfortunately I don’t see “star” when I see C or MM, (or even Haseley at this moment but that’s a bit Easley) but I hope I’m wrong. I do agree that MM could develop into a nice major league player but maybe not elite. The most concerning thing to me is the lack of significant improvement over the course of the season. It was a bad year to have the 1:1 pick apparently. We really need Ortiz to pan out….

  27. Moniak will not be a truly elite player, but he’s going to be above average. We are making conclusions based on a player that is far from a finished product. I think everyone is misinterpreting his BABIP. A higher BABIP, over an OBP is a good thing, not bad. It means Moniak is making excellent contact, but balls aren’t falling in as they should, hence a low OBP. His his 20% K rate a concern? In the short term, sure, but plenty of young hitters have the same issue due to lack of experience.

    I was at the game last night and Mickey got absolutely robbed on a diving catch in his final AB. Yes, he needs to refine his approach and take more pitches, but he simply missed the balls by a hair yesterday when making contact. He fouled a ton of pitches back to the screen, just missing them. Wait until he gets more AB’s under his belt and puts on muscle in the off season. Ball players aren’t built in a day. Moniak is never going to develop a ton of power, as that’s not his game. He’s going to be a .280-.300 lead off man, hits for contact with some gap power, steals 15-20 bags, 30 or so doubles. Defensively, he takes excellent routes to fly balls and has above average instincts. His arm is progressing nicely. All he needs is a bit of accuracy, though. When the season is over, I will put the Mick under the microscope from every angle of the scouting and sabermetric lens. Should be a fun project!

    1. “A higher BABIP, over an OBP is a good thing, not bad. It means Moniak is making excellent contact, but balls aren’t falling in as they should, hence a low OBP. ”

      This is completely wrong. First Mickey has a .317 babip. That is not low at all. That is above average. Second your conclusion that a higher babip than ob% is good is very wrong. Don’t agree, find me a great hitter that has those stats.

      1. Minor league stats have to be interrupted entirely different. Looking forward to reading the Moniak write up Johnny.

    1. I don’t think “star” but certainly very good hitter. Look at his minor league k rates. Awesome. 13.5% was his highest minor league k rate.

      1. Blackmon has a 70 hit tool — career .303 hitter across 3000 plate appearance.

        I made this point about hit tool the other day (of course I had no idea you had written this article v1) — and I believe K rate is critical — great hitters for average (i.e., hit tool, not power) just don’t miss the ball very often. Here’s what I said:

        “Of the 5 tools (hit, hit for power, fielding, running, arm), the hit tool is the hardest tool to judge accurately. Foot speed, throwing arm, power (just watch BP), even fielding are easier to judge.

        But on the hit tool there are a couple clues — hitting for a good average with a reasonable K rate while very young for a level, is one clue. Maintaining or even increasing that average and maintaining a good K rate while moving up (while remaining very young for each level) is another clue. And scouts’ opinions (saying things like the player “has a good feel to hit”) are a good clue, too.”

  28. Blackmon is a star, end of story. If he was in Boston or NY he would be considered a superstar.

  29. I was away for work and just back now to look at this piece. Let me say thank you to V1again for a well done piece. Some may not agree and some might but this piece is why I love this site.

    My comments.
    1. Moniak was drafted 1.1 but was one of maybe 5-6-7 who could have gone in that spot.He has to shoulder the burden of being a 1.1 (which has huge expectations. Look at career WAR for 1.1’s).
    2. I am concerned about where he is at this stage of his career. In particular as many have noted his low contact and walk numbers and high k rate. My rule of thumb is GENERALLY i think a prospects BA drops .010 for each level they advance. There used to be a site that converted minor league stats at every level into the projected MLB stats. At this rate, I see MM as a .220-.230 hitter. I don’t know what that equates to on the 20-80 scale but it’s not good.
    3. I am not so sure Odubel is a good comparison physically (but I see the numbers) because he does have incredible hand/eye ability to get his bat on the ball as indicated last night with a pitch that almost hit him.
    4. I definitely remember comparisons to Jim Edmonds. Funny that I looked up Edmonds low A and high A stats. They were okay but not great. He must have been hurt in low A since he didn’t play a lot of games. His stats did get better as he moved through the minors. So we can hope. Exception to the rule.
    5. A lot of reports on MM , as mentioned here, are that he has LOTS of trouble with off speed and breaking balls. He also does not have good splits versus LHP. This bothers me because the Phillies braintrust had to see this at showcases (there are reports that #1 HS prospect Brice Turang struggled mightly in Cary NC showcases against off-speed and breaking pitches).

    So again thanks V1again, great work and thanks for starting a great conversation. I personally would like to see something like this on Cozens, Randolph and Kingery.

  30. Even though I have wanted to in the past, I have refrained from making any comments on this site besides one injury update. That being said, I figure since this entire thread is about my son, I feel like I should put in my two cents worth. I am the first to admit, along with Mickey, that this is not the type of year he is accustomed to. He is definitely feeling some pressure being the number one overall pick, but at the same time he is willing to accept that. He played in his 101st game yesterday which is the fifth most in the entire Sally League and he just barely turned 19. I know you can compare all the other overall first picks numbers to his and think the worwt, but I know people develop at different stages and Mickey will be no different in my opinion. I have watched him play baseball since he was 4 years old and I know what makes him tick and I know when he is frustrated. He has definitely been frustrated with this season, although there have been a lot of bright spots. Not sure how many games V1AGAIN has been to or any of the other people on this site, but I listen to every game and every out since the start of the season. People don’t always see that there are many times where he pisses on two balls but they’re lineouts right at somebody. All people see is the 0-4 or the 1-4 and I get that. Baseball is a game of statistics and my son is no different. All I am saying is there are a lot of positive this year. He hasn’t broken down and he’s been able to play all these games free of nagging injuries like when he had Growing Pains last year in the Gulf Coast League. I think the best judge of his season this year is his coach Marty Malloy. Go read some of the comments he has made and will probably make all you guys feel better that he was the number one overall pick. Again, I’m not here to defend the season he is having or say people should be happy about it, but I will tell you Mickey has always proven people wrong all the way up and I do not think this will be any different as long as he stays healthy. He Is going through a huge learning curve batting third in the order facing guys that are sometimes five or six years older than him. He’s getting pitch backwards which he hasn’t been used to and he is adjusting. I’ll give an example of one of his recent outs: first off, the pitcher was over 5 years older than him. He started the AB off with a with a curve ball for a strike. Then a 90 mile an hour change up in the dirt that he chased. Then the next pitch was a 98 mile an hour fastball letter high and he swung through it and struck out. Not the type of pitch sequence he has been used to for the 14-plus years he’s been playing baseball. But I will tell you one thing, he will learn from this and over time this will only make him better. Like I said, he is definitely feeling the pressure of being the number one overall pick but he is not complaining! He has to deal with a lot of different things other than baseball when it comes to that. One example is the other night after striking out with guys on 2nd 3rd down by one, he had everyone asking him for his Bat and batting gloves and anything else he can give them. Keep in mind he is a young kid that just lost a game and isn’t used to that sort of thing. Afterwards, he has everyone in the stands yelling at him for autographs and memorabilia. After talking to him that night, I told him that a lot of these people may be only making one trip to the ballpark and they want a piece of him one way or another and that’s just the way it is being the number one overall pick. He is a smart kid and he gets it…just sometimes he is frustrated with himself and nobody is harder on himself than hw is. With all this being said, I just want everyone to know I understand everyone’s frustration but there are a lot of positives and I will say the majority of people are positive about him and are willing to give him time. In the end, I really believe we will look back at some of these comments and laugh and maybe even frame some of them! Haha we will see. I am by no means a homer dad but I figured I would post here since it was about him. I read this site practically on a daily basis and I appreciate everyone’s critiques good and bad. All I’m saying is give him some time and I think everyone will look at this season as just a learning experience and he will be that much better for it. I know he is looking forward to coming home and getting his mind off baseball for a little bit and playing with his dog Jeter! I think next year he will be that much more mentally prepared for the season and it will show. Thanks for all your hard work on this site gym, you do a really good job.

    1. First let me say thank you for posting this. I am the father of a very good youth baseball player and I can only dream that my son has a fraction of your son’s success. I know how hard it is and I did not intend to diminish Mickey. He seems like a great person first and foremost. And also a terrific baseball player.

      Second, I actually think this is a pretty complimentary piece. I compared him to a multi year 4-war player and said that I believe he is likely to achieve that level. 4-war major league center fielders don’t grow on trees. They are very valuable players. That is a terrific outcome for him. And I said above I think that is likely.

      I also think that it is good for him if everyone lowers expectations. We all hope he far surpasses our lowered expectations. We all yearn for a star. But a 70 hit tool is extremely rare. It was unfair of Almarez to put that expectation on Mickey. Philly sports fans are tough. Once they label you it is really hard to overcome that. I don’t want that for Mickey. I want fans to appreciate him for who he is which is a very solid prospect.

      Again, everyone is rooting for him. This is just a blog and I am not a scout. It is just an opinion. As I said above, I hope that I live to regret writing it. If I upset you I Mrs. Moniak then I apologize. That was not my intent.

    2. Very informative post and excellent background information. We are excited to have your son in the Phillies system and look forward to him being an exciting major league player in 2020 !!!!

  31. Sorry about the machine gun comments but I failed to mention something that is important. Like I said in my previous novel, I agree with a lot of what is being said and understand it. That being said, there is one thing I completely disagree with and that is when people say that Mickey will never hit for power. Mickey has always been a power hitter in his travel ball days and then last year in high school he started to show some of it again. I told all 30 teams that sat down at our kitchen table that Mickey will be a power hitter someday and then he went out and proved me right by hitting six of his seven home runs last yr while the Phillies were there. I know he only has four home runs this yr, but I listen to all the games and there has probably been 7 balls he has hit of the wall as well as numerous balls up against the wall and a few foul ball homeruns like the other night that one-hopped the snack stand down the rt field line in Lakewood the other night. I think Mickey will prove me right if he stays healthy. Again, I normally wouldn’t post but I wanted to give people my perspective and give people positives to look at going forward. I know some of you are going to bust my balls for even posting on here but so be it! Go Phillies

    1. I love that you post and personally hope that you post more. No need to hide the fact that you are a proud dad. It is a great perspective. These are real people. It is not a video game. I love to hear your perspective.

    2. I would add that I hope he doesn’t believe that he will be a power hitter. He doesn’t seem to have the body type IMO. I hope he focuses on line drives to the gap. If 10-15 of those line drives get out then that’s great. But I think his focus should be on line drives not home runs.

      1. Agree 100%. I do not think it is in MM’s or the Phillies best interests to get preoccupied with power and homers. A line drive gap-to-gap hitter can get plenty of extra base hits (and be very productive) without trying to bulk up or swinging for the fences or trying to pull every pitch. If MM is an 8-12 HR guy, that is just fine IMO, provided he can hit the ball hard on a consistent basis. No need to force the power aspect.

  32. Thanks so much for your comments, Matt. Everyone on this site wants to see him be wildly successful and be the starting CF-er for the Phillies for ten plus years.

    Even the “negative” commenters think Mickey is very good and will be a solid major leaguer. Of course he is under the microscope as the 1-1 pick . . .

    But everyone here wants him to succeed.

    1. Your Elvis…..that sounds a lot like his father…who has commented on here before..

    1. I think its him too. but romus does a lot of impersonation for his comedy at resort. but if its really his dad. I am on board with him being so young at higher level. I haven’t never seen him play so all I can go by his saber, which I hate to be the only judge of a player. Hope to see him in person.Good lucj matt to you and your son,

  33. I still don’t believe it. I’m sure he’s been criticized before being the first overall pick and you would think the Father would be used to the criticism and not feel the need to post about it. In my honest opinion it’s a bad look, not quiet Lavar Ball-ish but i’m sure Mickey wouldn’t want his Daddy rushing to defend him on an internet site any time he’s critized. My 2 cents. Elvis has left the building!

    1. For one thing I find it hard to believe for as good as he is and for as good as the players he’s played against, speaking about AAU or the showcase circuit and I guess high school to a smaller extent, that he’s never been pitched backwards. To say he’s never seen a curveball followed by a change up and then a high fastball seems laughable to me. But if that is true, it is all the more concerning if you ask me.

      AKA Elvis

  34. Thanks v1again..I appreciate that. I somewhat regret posting yesterday but at the same time I just wanted everyone to know that in the end I don’t think he will dissapoint. just need some time I believe. And like I said I’m not a homer, I’m a realist and I know that a lot of the unhappiness is warranted being the number one overall selection.

    1. Matt. If you are up to it, I would love to interview you for this site. Title of the post would be something like, What its like raising a top draft pick. Would love to hear details of Mickey growing up playing baseball. Many on here are dads of young baseball players and would be interested to hear your experiences. Let me know if interested.

  35. Mickey Moniak wins today’s game with a walk off single in the bottom of the tenth.
    I haven’t posted in this thread. I read it when it first went up. A few of things:

    * Appreciate the fact that Mr Moniak would take the time to post. He adds a whole new perspective.

    * V1 makes plenty of valid points. However, I disagree with your statement questioning Mickey’s ability to turn into a gold glove CF’er. I haven’t read any reports down on his defense. His catch in the Area Codes Game (jr. season) is one of the all timers.

    * Although, I campaigned for Cal Quantrill for last year’s 1-1 pick, I was pleased with the Moniak selection. I’m still hopeful of a Kyle Tucker type of player as Mickey matures. I believe Mickey (and Daniel Brito) are running on fumes at this point of the season. Hopefully, their projection looks more like the players they were the first part of the season at Lakewood.

    1. Hinkie…the Phillies are very fortunate, actually every CFer in the system has a plus defensive rating in fielding, speed and arm.

  36. Moniak was a good choice. At least he is not in the Jackson and Hewitt class.Jackson was a 1st round 4th pick in that draft and flamed out in rookie ball. Moniak is going to develop into a defensive CF with a nice top of the order bat. We must also keep in mind all the overslot draftees that came with him.

  37. Moniak’s stats in Lakewood this season may be somewhat underwhelming but I think that when you account for age (2 years younger) and level (one level higher), they are actually more impressive than those of Haseley in Williamsport (admittedly based on a SSS of 118 ABs).

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