Throughout what was a pretty impressive camp, Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi called former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak “interesting” on multiple occasions. The Phillies will continue to be interested in Moniak’s progression from a distance to open the 2021 season, though.
Prior to Tuesday evening’s Grapefruit League game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Phillies optioned Moniak to minor league camp. This almost certainly means that he won’t open the 2021 season at the major league level.
Nonetheless, the Phillies liked what they saw from the 22-year-old this spring, as he slashed .271/.368/.576 with two home runs, six RBIs and seven walks. Girardi made it pretty clear early on that the Phillies believe Moniak needs to continue to get consistent at-bats, something that’s more likely to happen at the satellite squad and Triple-A than as part of a rotation in center field.
Moniak played in eight games for the Phillies during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but has never played at the Triple-A level yet. When the Lehigh Valley IronPigs open their 2021 season on May 4, there’s a very real chance that they do so with Moniak as their center fielder.
Even after optioning Moniak, the Phillies still have quite a few center field options to sift through. Scott Kingery has struggled this spring, but both his contract and positional versatility make him likely to be on the opening day roster. Roman Quinn homered Tuesday night, and while he doesn’t consistently make contact, his speed makes him a tremendous threat on the basepaths when he does. Odúbel Herrera isn’t on the 40-man roster, but does have three home runs this spring, so there’s a very real chance he’s added before April 1. And Adam Haseley has progressed tremendously from a groin injury, so much so that he may very well start in center field for the Phillies Wednesday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers.
In addition to Moniak, the Phillies also optioned lefty Ranger Suárez to minor league camp Tuesday.
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