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 So, some of the data will be a couple days out of date, but nowhere near enough to invalidate the premise stated.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
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:
- A 21.5% k rate, and
- 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.