The Los Angeles Angels entered the 2023 season with an established outfield that consisted of Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe from left to right. Assuming all three were healthy, this would be the Angels outfield just about every day with off days as a rare exception. This meant former top prospects Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell would either play every day in the minors or be fourth outfielders that'd rarely see the field, like Brett Phillips.
The Angels opted to send Adell down in Spring Training but the decision to send Moniak down was not easy after he was one of, if not the best player on the team the entire month. It truly came down to playing time.
With Taylor Ward struggling and the Angels wanting to get some days off for Trout and Renfroe, the Angels decided to promote Moniak after a hot start to his minor league season in mid-May. The assumption was he'd be up for a short period, but he simply played too well for the team to ever send him back down.
Mickey Moniak deserves an A- Grade for his 2023 season
The Angels acquired Moniak at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for two months of Noah Syndergaard. The Phillies did win the NL Pennant and Syndergaard was on their postseason roster for that run, but it's safe to say they regret parting with their former number one overall pick even after some struggles to begin his career.
The young outfielder slashed .280/.308/.495 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 85 games. He did a great job leading off for a good amount of the season and was a staple in the order against right-handed pitching. He showed off his speed and was for the most part very solid defensively in all three outfield spots.
While Moniak far exceeded his expectations, he did struggle in certain areas glaringly. He proved to be a complete non-factor against left-handed pitching which is something the Angels need to take note of this offseason. Whether it's having Jo Adell ace as his platoon partner or a free agent, starting Moniak against lefties is hard to justify. The strikeouts are another thing he has to improve. He fanned at a 35% clip, 113 times in 323 plate appearances. This came with just nine walks drawn.
There's a lot to like about Moniak and he's absolutely earned a big role for the 2024 season. Considering the fact that he entered this season with virtually no success at the big league level and wound up being a 113 OPS+ hitter, I'd say that's a resounding success. He's gone from a minor leaguer to a piece the Angels can think about building around.