On the eve of opening day, the Phillies suffered a significant setback when Mickey Moniak fractured his right hand on a hit by pitch. It’s a serious blow to a revamped Phillies team, as the hot-hitting Moniak was set to assume the left-handed side of a centerfield platoon with Matt Vierling.
The first overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, Moniak struggled mightily to begin his professional career, posting a middling .253/.301/.401 slash line over 2,080 minor league plate appearances. He received cups of coffee in each of the past two seasons, but failed to produce much at the big league level.
Moniak rekindled some hope when he got off to a blistering start this spring and never took his foot off the gas. Originally slated to start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Moniak played his way onto the opening day roster. In fact, he inspired so much hope amongst the Phillies brass that they dealt another former first-rounder to the White Sox in the form of Adam Haseley.
Moniak’s hand fracture is a tough pill to swallow for Phillies fans, as the talented, but unproven, Matt Vierling will step into an everyday role in center field. Hopefully Vierling will continue his sweet swinging ways from last season, and provide serviceable defense up the middle. If so, the team should be able to weather the storm until Moniak and Odúbel Herrera return from the Injured List.