The Los Angeles Angels have what we'd call a good problem. Too many outfielders for only three spots. Mike Trout is the center fielder, we know that. Outside of Trout, there's Taylor Ward, Hunter Renfroe, and the surprising Mickey Moniak.
The Angels having Ward, Trout, and Renfroe is why Moniak didn't make the team after an outstanding Spring Training. Moniak deserved to be on the roster but simply wasn't going to play. Taylor Ward's struggles opened up a chance for Moniak to play so he was brought up and took complete advantage.
Moniak is slashing .337/.371/.707 with seven home runs and 20 RBI. He's been outstanding defensively and has been as clutch as they come offensively. It's obviously a small sample size, but among hitters with at least 90 plate appearances, Moniak's 193 WRC+ is the best mark in the majors. Better than Shohei Ohtani, better than Aaron Judge, better than everybody.
Moniak's red-hot bat has forced the Angels to try Hunter Renfroe at first base, and Phil Nevin even started Moniak against a lefty. That's something he's going to have to improve on if he wants to play every day.
LA Angels outfielder Mickey Moniak has earned a role vs. righties, but has to hit vs. lefties to justify everyday role
Even with the outfield crunch, Mickey Moniak has earned a role against right-handed pitching. He's absolutely feasted against them, and in my opinion should be leading off against every righty playing in either corner until he slows down. He's been that good.
Lefties are a different story. After a five-hit game on Saturday night in which he smacked three doubles, went deep, and was a triple shy of the cycle, Moniak got a rare start against left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber of the Rockies.
In his first at-bat of the day, Moniak hit into a double play on a weak grounder to third. Ryan McMahon made a nice play to double him up, but Moniak didn't exactly make good contact. He did draw a walk in his other at-bat against Gomber, but Moniak's struggles against lefties are well-documented now.
The outfielder is hitless in his eight at-bats against southpaws this season, and has just one hit in 32 at-bats with 14 strikeouts agains them in his career. That obviously is not good at all. Even this season in the minors, Moniak had just five hits in 31 at-bats against left-handers with a paltry .438 OPS.
I love Moniak and think he's earned the opportunity to play against righties, but throwing him in there against lefties really shouldn't happen right now on an Angels team trying to win. I was fine with it yesterday against a starter who had an ERA over 7.00 and after a five-hit game, but it shouldn't be a regular occurrence.