It’s been a rough week for the Phillies, as they’ve lost five of their last six and are coming off a three game sweep at the hands of the division-leading Mets. Things don’t get much easier today as they kick off a series against the 30-17 Giants. However, there is one bit of good news today, as the Phils are set to activate centerfielder Mickey Moniak off of the Injured List.
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The 24-year-old Moniak has had a bizarre career so far, as he started out on top of the world as the number one overall selection in the 2016 draft, and then plummeted down prospect lists over the next few years. He didn’t fare particularly well in brief cups of coffee in 2020 and 2021, but looked ticketed for a starting role coming into this year after tearing up spring training. Unfortunately, an errant pitch broke his right hand in the Phillies’ last game of the spring. Moniak has spent the entirety of 2022 thus far on the Injured List recovering from that fracture.
Center field has been a problem in Philadelphia this year. Moniak looked set to play everyday, but after both he and Odúbel Herrera went down to start the year, rookie Matt Vierling was thrust into the starting role. Vierling looked completely overmatched, posting an awful .472 OPS over 54 plate appearances before being demoted to Triple-A. Herrera has gotten the bulk of the playing time since then, and has actually put up a splendid .792 OPS across 94 plate appearances. Herrera has done fine work at the plate, but still leaves much to be desired on the outfield grass. Speedster Roman Quinn has earned a few starts here and there, but his inability to hit big league pitching makes him a less than ideal solution.
Phillies fans are hoping that Moniak can provide a spark for a team that is in free fall. As of Monday morning the Phils sit 10.5 games out of first place in the NL East, and have been finding new ways to lose each night. Whether it’s the defense giving opponents extra outs, the bullpen blowing late leads, or the offense going completely silent, this team just can’t figure it out. Hopefully, when the Phillies activate Moniak they’ll gain not just an outfielder, but another piece of the puzzle.