The next Ellsbury? Mickey Moniak talks skill set, raves about 2nd-rounder Kevin Gowdy


The Phillies officially introduced Mickey Moniak Tuesday as their newest prospect, 12 days after selecting him with the first overall pick in the MLB draft.

Moniak, 18, said a lot of the right things, noting how excited he was to come to an organization with as much history as the Phillies and to a fan base so passionate.

Aside from the routine, fluffy Q&A that goes on at these sorts of introductions, a few things did stand out:

The next Ellsbury?
When asked how he sees his skill set translating to the majors or to name a player with comparable tools, Moniak mentioned Yankees centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

"I've heard comparisons to a Jacoby Ellsbury, can play center field, hit the ball out of the ballpark if he needs to, steal some bases," Moniak said. "That's always a good comparison when you're compared to guys like this. But I just want to get better as a baseball player. I know my strengths and I'm trying to add to those strengths here as I mature through the process and the farm system."

Moniak is regarded as a strong contact hitter with the ability to hit over .300 in the majors some day. He and the Phils are hoping some home-run power is a strength he adds as he grows.

Wizard with the bat
Moniak, despite signing straight out of high school, was regarded by many scouts and analysts as one of the safest players in the draft, safer than most of the top college bats. His grandfather, Bill Moniak, a former Red Sox minor-leaguer who had Ted Williams as a hitting coach, said that one MLB scout told him he saw Mickey play 13 games and swing and miss one time.

"He's got a very professional approach. He keeps his barrel in the zone a really long time," GM Matt Klentak said of Moniak on Tuesday. "And he just has a unique ability to barrel the ball up, hit the ball to all fields. Very, very comfortable in the box."

Where's he headed?
Moniak was scheduled to fly to Clearwater on Tuesday night. He'll likely begin his pro career in rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, but scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development, will formulate that specific plan later in the week.

Three amigos
Moniak is good friends with the Phillies' second- and third-round picks, right-hander Kevin Gowdy and shortstop/third baseman Cole Stobbe. He played with and against Gowdy, and last summer lived with Stobbe for a month while both were on the prep tournament circuit. 

"Couldn't have scripted it any better," Moniak said of the Phillies' drafting those three with their first three picks. 

Moniak raved about Gowdy's stuff, saying he has a "great fastball" and "some of the best off-speed stuff in the [draft] class by far." The two have talked every day since the draft. Moniak did make sure to mention that he tripled off Gowdy the only time he's ever faced him.

Moniak referred to Gowdy as a "highly advanced pitcher" and was "amazed" he fell to the Phillies with the 42nd pick.

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