When Mickey Moniak was selected with the first-overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, expectations were at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the young outfield prospect was unable to meet said expectations in his first three seasons in the Minors. He struggled to consistently hit professional pitching and struck out four times as often as he walked.
However, Moniak, 20, was able to put together a solid end to his 2018 season in Advanced-A Clearwater. He slashed .286/.332/.442 in the second half last season. Moniak now looks to build upon the positives from 2018, along with some help from a new face in the Phillies organization.
Poised to help bring the best out of Moniak is new Phillies Minor League Hitting Coordinator Jason Ochart. Ochart also serves as the Director of Hitting for Driveline Baseball, which is “the world’s first and best data-driven baseball player development program” according to its website. Driveline is known for its analytical and untraditional approach to developing players.
Moniak sat down with PFO yesterday and spoke about his work with Ochart in preparing him for this season. “He’s very knowledgeable in all the analytics of the swing and hitting and stuff which is something that I was never really that into or really dove too deep into,” said Moniak. “The information’s there, so why not use it? That’s kind of the approach I’m taking. So that’s kind of the big thing I’ve taken away from him, is just kind of learning what all these numbers mean and how it could help me be a better hitter.”
In addition to crunching the numbers of the swing, Ochart also discussed approach with the young prospect. “Intent to Do Damage” is a catch phrase of sorts for those at Driveline. This phrase represents the approach that Driveline wants its hitters to have at the plate. Hitters must go up wanting to hit the ball hard in order to be successful. Moniak mentioned that he started to find that approach in the second half of last year and is really looking to hone it in this season. He said that he is “not so much going up there looking to get a hit every time, but looking to go up there, drive the baseball, get a job done.”
It is clear that, through his work with Ochart and other members of the Phillies organization, Moniak is doing his best to improve. He has invested his time into learning about his swing and maximizing who he can be as a hitter. The talent has always been there, and it is now evident that the commitment is there for Moniak as well.
“Stay on top of the ball, which I’ve always tried to do, and getting a good pitch to hit and putting it in play hard with intent to do damage. That’s just kind of been my approach my whole life, and especially right now.”
With the intent obviously present, Moniak has been doing damage to the Eastern League early on this season. Through his first seven games, he has a slash line of .258/.355/.607. He already has 2 home runs so far this year. It is apparent that Moniak intends to do damage at this level and beyond.