Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mickey Moniak did not make the team out of Spring Training to the dismay of many Angels fans because the lack of opportunity simply wasn't there. The Angels were planning on running Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Hunter Renfroe out in the outfield virtually every day and with Shohei Ohtani locked into the DH spot, there was nowhere for Moniak to get regular at-bats.
This ended up working out pretty well for the Angels as Moniak, after a really strong Spring Training, went down to Salt Lake and swung the bat really well. With Taylor Ward struggling, Moniak earned his recall and did everything he could to run away with the left field job.
In his first ten games, Moniak slashed .419/.438/.936 with four home runs and seven RBI. Moniak was coming through in the clutch, he was hitting for power, he even stole a pair of bags. He was on top of the world.
Since that ten-game stretch, Moniak has recorded just three hits in 18 at-bats without a home run and with six strikeouts. He dropped a pretty routine fly ball in an extra-inning loss against the Marlins, and appears to have lost his spot. The combination of Taylor Ward getting hot and the Angels running into lefties have left Moniak as the odd-man out.
LA Angels must decide to either play Mickey Moniak or send him down
Right now, Moniak is the fourth outfielder. He'll play when one of the starters need a day off. As we saw this weekend in Houston, there's very little opportunity for him to actually play. This is why I was so confused when he was promoted initially.
Ward, Trout, and Renfroe started all four games against the Astros, and deservingly so. Ward has swung the bat so much better on this road trip, Mike Trout has to play in a series against the defending champs, and Hunter Renfroe had a three-hit game in the opener and hit a home run later in the series.
Moniak did not make a single appearance at Minute Maid Park. He didn't get an at-bat, didn't pinch run, and didn't play an inning in the field. He's played once in the last week.
With the Cubs coming into town next, it's unclear how much Moniak will play. Can Trout have a day off because he's struggling? Sure. Phil Nevin did say he envisions all three outfielders getting days off this week. While that helps, that still does very little for his future. Trout isn't sitting once a week. The other outfielders won't either if they're swinging the bat well.
Moniak getting regular at-bats in AAA is far more valuable to himself and the Angels than him sitting on the bench playing once a week. He doesn't play against lefties and isn't a regular starter.
We've seen Moniak struggle with the bat since reverting back to this bench role. They won't be getting the best version of himself if he barely plays.
It's a tough decision to make since he's a player fans have rallied around, but it's one that is crucial for Moniak in the present and future. He needs to be in the lineup most days somewhere. If Taylor Ward has won his job back, which all indications are that he has, Moniak being sent down to the minors is best for everyone.