As the Los Angeles Angels fell out of contention last year, they made several moves at the trade deadline with an eye on the future. Among them was acquiring Mickey Moniak and Minor League outfielder Jadiel Sanchez from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Noah Syndergaard.
Moniak most notably was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, but failed to live up to expectations during his time with the Phillies. He hit just .129 in 47 games over parts of three seasons with the organization.
He didn’t get his first real opportunity for playing time until being traded to the Angels. And while his numbers didn’t improve much after joining the team last year, the 25-year-old finally appears to have put it all together this season.
Moniak entered play Tuesday batting .284/.313/.504 with 19 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 77 games. He returned to Citizens Bank Park on Monday and went 3-for-4 with a triple and RBI in the Angels’ 6-4 loss.
The former No. 1 overall pick reflected on his time with the Phillies and is grateful that they took a chance on him, while also expressing gratitude to the Angels for believing in him, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“The term ‘change of scenery,’ I think there’s a lot that goes into it,” Moniak said. “For me, I’m an hour away from home, and that’s been great to see family. Last year, the Phillies were built to win and there wasn’t a leash for me. Being able to come over here and get that month and a half under my belt last year was huge for me. But I wouldn’t be here if the Phillies didn’t take a chance on me as an 18-year-old.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin can relate to Moniak as he additionally struggled after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft until a change of scenery helped him get back on track:
“We’ve certainly had a lot of those conversations,” Nevin said. “But I’ve known him for a while. He played travel ball with my sons in San Diego. So he came into a comfortable environment where he knew people and knew me. And he’s home, too, and he’s able to see his family. As a Southern California kid who grew up on the beach, this is a different place to play. Philadelphia is one of the best places, but it can be tough.”
Moniak’s success this season has likely cemented himself as a part of the Angels’ future, especially with Hunter Renfroe heading for free agency this offseason. Moniak had a successful Spring Training, but began the 2023 season with Triple-A Salt Lake due to a logjam in the outfield.
If there’s one area that Moniak can stand to improve in, it’s plate discipline. He has struck out 109 times this year as opposed to drawing only nine walks.
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