Last year when the Los Angeles Angels traded away Noah Syndergaard to the Philadelphia Phillies, they received a former first-overall pick in return, Mickey Moniak. Struggling to find his fitting in Philadelphia with the immense expectations that the first overall pick feels they need to live up to, Moniak seemed very excited to return to his home state of California for a restart.
Before leaving Philadelphia he couldn't seem to ever get comfortable at the plate. After only playing 47 games on the Phillies' major league roster and logging 12 hits, they had seen enough. It was very evident that the first overall pick expectations looming over his head got to him. In addition to that, having short stints on the major league roster where the magnification of your output as a player determines if you play the next day or not, can impact how you approach every game, or at bat.
Young players with high expectations sometimes just need some extra playing time on the team with some space to play and be allowed to make those mistakes and grow as a player. This allows a player to not play so tense when at the plate or in the field allowing him to see that striking out, or making an error in the field won't impact his role on the team. That is why you see so many MLB prospects blossom into stars on teams who won't see October.
Mickey Moniak has unexpectedly emerged with the LA Angels
Clearly with not much time to get acclimated with the major league roster and amid high expectations for the team's overall performance the odds that Mickey Moniak would perform much better than before were lower than before. That is why when Moniak was called back up to the majors in May and he homered in his first appearance back, it opened some eyes. Clearly, something about coming to Anaheim changed him. After his call-up in May, he hasn't gone back. Moniak has proceeded to play in 38 games, while maintaining a .308 batting average, with 10 HR's.
Clearly 38 games is only a small sample size to pull from, but his season is clearly quite promising. Even when he was called up in mid-May, Mickey wasn't playing every day. Because of a crowded outfield, Phil Nevin has opted for good pitcher-hitter scenarios with his lineup. This has left Mickey typically sitting out games with left-handed starters. For the next few weeks up to the trade deadline, expect this to continue, but the Angels decision with their outfield future could drastically change his seasonal outlook.
If the Angels decide to trade Hunter Renfroe at the trade deadline, this will allow the Angels to see how he hits against good left-handed pitching. Currently, Mickey has zero hits against left-handed pitching this season in 13 plate appearances. For the rest of the season, and for Mickey's future it is essential that Nevin doesn't handicap Moniak early in his career by not showing much confidence in his ability to hit left-handed pitching. It will make a trade deadline decision a lot easier for Perry if he's able to see how Moniak would respond to hitting left-handed pitching and gets a better idea of his capabilities, so he should push Nevin to get Moniak at-bats in the coming weeks.