The Los Angeles Angels sent Jake Lamb down yesterday in a move that will help them keep him in the organization. That move made sense, but we didn't get a corresponding transaction until just now. Mickey Moniak is back, and I couldn't be more confused.
Moniak was one of, if not the best position player the Angels had in Spring Training. He slashed .409/.435/.750 with three home runs and 11 RBI in his 44 at-bats. He was showing flashes as to why he was the first overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
Moniak, much to the disappointment of many Angels fans, was sent down at the end of Spring Training. I liked the move because he'd rarely play on this team and would play every day in the minors. This has held true as the Angels' fourth outfielder, Brett Phillips, has just 13 at-bats on the season. Moniak would've had more, but not much more. Despite the lack of opportunity available, Moniak is back.
LA Angels make strange decision to promote Mickey Moniak
The Angels had a set outfield heading into the season and continue to have that same outfield six weeks into it. Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe line up left to right virtually every day. Ward has appeared in every game, Renfroe has appeared in all but two, and Trout all but three. When those outfielders sit, Luis Rengifo plays a majority of the time.
Even with Taylor Ward struggling, Moniak isn't suddenly going to pick up an everyday role. He might play once in a while, but Ward, Trout, and Renfroe is going to be the outfield. There isn't really anyone for Moniak to hit for either off the bench other than the catcher spot, and even then, Matt Thaiss is a better option at this point.
Moniak absolutely deserves a spot on a Major League Baseball team. His excellent Spring Training has carried over to the minors as he's slashed .308/.355/.585 with eight home runs and 23 RBI so far. He has five triples while the Angels team as a whole has three.
The reason I didn't want Moniak up before and the reason I don't want him up now, is there is simply no opportunity for him. He's better than Phillips, but Phillips rarely plays. If you want Moniak in the Phillips role he will rarely play. If you want Moniak to start over one of the outfielders or over Ohtani at DH you're simply not putting your best starting lineup out there. I'd rather see a different youngster like Trey Cabbage get a shot at first base which isn't quite as solidified. I'd even rather see someone who can just play defense in the infield like Livan Soto.
Moniak will be sent down when Jared Walsh returns from the IL, which shouldn't be too long if his rehab assignment goes well, but this feels like just wasted time for Moniak who needs to be in a lineup every single day.