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Camp Notes: Moniak, Gibson & Torreyes

Mickey Moniak is a former No. 1 overall pick. (Cheryl Pursell)

It remains to be seen if Mickey Moniak will be the Philadelphia Phillies‘ Opening Day center fielder or not, but the former No. 1 overall pick has certainly left an impression on his manager during Spring Training.

While Moniak had some impressive moments last spring, his power production has stood out in 2022. The 23-year-old has five home runs and nine RBIs this spring, with Joe Girardi more than agreeing with the assessment that Moniak has shown an increased ability to hit for power over the last month than he had previously.

“A lot more, yeah,” Girardi said Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Girardi compared new hitting coach Kevin Long to Nick Saban back in October when the Phillies introduced him. Can Moniak’s spring be attributed to getting to work with Long?

“You know, I think Kevin has something to do with it, but I also think it’s the work that Mickey did too in the offseason … the strength that he put on … it’s just maturity. But yeah, Kevin Long has made some minor adjustments, and I feel like it’s helped.”

The maturity angle is interesting because while Moniak has been in the Phillies organization quite a bit longer than both Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott, he’s younger than both because he was drafted out of high school. The idea that he wasn’t a finished product physically — let alone in terms of the mental aspect of the game — when he hit just .128 in his first 47 Major League at-bats probably shouldn’t be discounted.

That doesn’t mean Moniak is going to develop into an All-Star, but just because he’s look overmatched at times in the past doesn’t mean that will continue to be the case going forward.

Arguably the most impressive moment Moniak has had this spring came Monday against the New York Yankees when he fired a Josh Allen-type dime from the right field warning track to second base:

To Girardi, it was just another indication of a player that continues to come into his own.

“Well, I mean, it’s a nice throw. He’s been playing really well. And the great thing is that we’ve seen improvements in everything he does … not just his hitting, but his defense … his running the bases … he beats out a single and steals a base. Everything he is doing has improved.”

Does It Ever Get Less Intimidating To Face Aaron Judge And Giancarlo Stanton?

You can play against the Yankees once in MLB The Show, and realize how intimidating it is to face Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton multiple times in one game.

After Kyle Gibson pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees Monday, I asked him if it ever gets any easier.

“You know, it’s more intimidating when you get in bad counts like I did when he [Judge] hits the double. If you can get in counts where you can kind of dictate what you want to throw and where you want to throw it, they are still going to get you and get their hard hit balls because they are really good. But when you’re ahead of them, you feel like you can still execute your pitches and you’re not having to give in and throw strikes.

“The double, I felt like I probably just missed a good pitch to get to a 1-2 count, instead of 2-1. And in that case, I’m trying to not go any deeper and you throw your best pitch and see what you can do. So, yeah, they’re always intimidating when they walk into the box … but if you can find out to start the day what pitches you are using to get ahead of those guys … and if you can execute those pitches and get ahead, then that kind of opens up the rest of your repertoire going forward.”

Roster Continues To Take Shape

The Phillies reassigned Ronald Torreyes, Yairo Muñoz and Dillon Maples to minor league camp after Tuesday’s Grapefruit League game.

Girardi wasn’t sure if Torreyes — who appeared in 111 games for the Phillies in 2021 — has an opt-out in his deal or not. Given how highly Girardi thinks of Torreyes, it would seem that his best opportunity to play in the majors this year would be to open the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and hope a spot opens up.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. seahawk7

    April 5, 2022 at 6:30 am

    I’m glad to see Mickey doing well. I have been pulling for him to get to this point and beyond. Seems like a really nice kid and I’m glad he is starting to figure things out and show his true potential. And remember, he is only 23.

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