After a roaring start, the Los Angeles Angels found themselves out of postseason contention by July and were sellers at the trade deadline. We saw players like Brandon Marsh and Raisel Iglesias go in trades for more unproven talent. The third player traded was Noah Syndergaard, who joined Brandon Marsh in Philadelphia.
The Syndergaard experience didn't go as planned. The Halos brought him in on a one-year deal and gave up a draft pick in hopes of Syndergaard being more like the dominant ace who was nicknamed "Thor".
Syndergaard had lost his powers, and after missing nearly two seasons after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, his velocity and effectiveness were down. With his contract expiring at season's end, it was almost a guarantee Syndergaard would be wearing another jersey for the stretch of the season. Syndergaard ended up on the Pennant-winning Phillies, and jumped ship after the season ended. As for Moniak, the fun is only getting started.
LA Angels trade for Mickey Moniak will only get better as it ages
The Angels gave up half of a season of a declining Syndergaard for a player who was picked first overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. I loved the deal at the time as Syndergaard contributed nothing for a team going nowhere, and they got a player with potential.
Moniak was, and still is, no sure thing. He was a career .157 hitter at the MLB level through his first 153 at-bats with the Angels and Phillies heading into the 2023 season. This season has felt different from the very beginning. Watching Moniak in Spring Training looked different than it did when he was an Angel last season. Even his numbers in the minors were different, as his .939 OPS destroyed his personal best of .746 in a full season.
In the nine games he's played since his recall, he has 12 hits in 28 at-bats with three home runs and six RBI. He's displayed his great speed and defense as well. He made a home run-robbing catch and came inches away from another. He just recorded another huge hit with his go-ahead home run last night.
It's obviously too soon to say what the Angels have with Moniak. He could fizzle out and become nothing, but he can also develop into a real player for them. Giving up two months of a pitcher who was average at best for the Angels for a former number one overall pick was already a win. Watching this player begin to develop right in front of our eyes while Syndergaard struggles pitching for the Dodgers puts into perspective just how good this trade was.
Perry Minasian has not been perfect by any means. We still have no idea how the bigger trade with Philadelphia will age. What I do know is he gets an A for this trade. Hopefully the Angels can help Mickey reach his untapped potential, and then it'll be a really huge steal.