Massive game and spring shouldn't change Mickey Moniak's Opening Day roster status
The Los Angeles Angels acquired Mickey Moniak at the deadline in the deal that sent Noah Syndergaard to the Phillies. This was a nice trade made by Perry Minasian as the Angels were out of contention and had no intention of retaining Syndergaard. To get a former first overall pick for a guy you weren't going to keep is good business.
Moniak's time with the Angels last season resembled a lot of his time in Philadelphia. He missed time due to injury and struggled offensively, primarily by striking out a ton.
Moniak has been fully healthy this spring and has swung the bat extremely well, highlighted by a huge game yesterday. Even with that big game, Moniak should not begin the season on the Opening Day roster.
Big game and spring shouldn't change Angels OF Mickey Moniak's Opening Day roster status
Mickey Moniak had three hits in three at-bats including two home runs in the Angels victory over the Rockies. One of the home runs was a Grand Slam off of an established lefty in Brad Hand, awfully impressive.
After that huge game, Moniak is slashing .409/.435/.750 with three home runs and 11 RBI. He leads the Angels in RBI and his 18 hits are four more than Anthony Rendon who's second on the team in that category. The young outfielder has struck out just nine times in 44 at-bats which isn't nearly as bad as his strikeout rate has been in the majors.
Moniak with his play absolutely deserves to be on the Opening Day roster. He's swung the bat well, is a really solid defender, and a great baserunner. While he may deserve it, he shouldn't be on it.
Again, the Angels have a set outfield of Ward, Trout, and Renfroe. No matter how well he does Moniak is not starting regularly over any of them.
Moniak would be a fourth outfielder who would rarely play. He'd start occasionally over the corner guys, but even then I'd rather roll with players like Rengifo, Drury, and Walsh in the corners than Moniak who hasn't done anything at the MLB level. His primary role would be serving as the backup CF which of course will be occupied by Mike Trout virtually every day when he is healthy.
I understand the disdain for Brett Phillips, but Moniak wouldn't benefit from sitting in the dugout six days a week. Phillips fills the role of a pinch runner/defensive replacement much better than Moniak would. Moniak needs regular at-bats. And to be blunt, if the Angels are losing games because of Brett Phillips, they simply weren't good enough to begin with. Bench players should not be the reason you win and lose games.
Another reason to have Moniak begin the season in the minors is we've seen this from him before. Moniak hit .378 with six home runs and 11 RBI last season in Spring Training for the Phillies. He was going to win the center field job there before getting hit by a pitch at the end of spring and fracturing his hand. He came back and hit .130 for the Phillies in 50 at-bats, striking out 19 times.
I like Mickey Moniak and he's absolutely earned the spot as the fifth outfielder over Jo Adell. If an outfielder gets hurt, he'd be the first guy I'd call to come up. It just isn't time yet.
These are good problems to have. The Angels actually have real depth for the first time in years. Moniak not making this team should be viewed as more of a good thing than bad.