When Reading's Mickey Moniak states, "the more at-bats I get at this level, or any level, I feel it locks me in even more," you have to believe him.With a continued effort to stay more relaxed in his approach, on and off the field, the top overall pick of the
When Reading's Mickey Moniak states, "the more at-bats I get at this level, or any level, I feel it locks me in even more," you have to believe him.
With a continued effort to stay more relaxed in his approach, on and off the field, the top overall pick of the 2016 Draft has come around after hitting .195 in April.
Sticking to the preparation that got him to this point, the Phillies' No. 9 prospect has hit .294 in 37 games since the first month ended as he adjusts to changes at the next level.
"We're 2 1/2 months in so far and I think it's going pretty well," Moniak said. "I'm starting to get my approach where it needs to be at the plate, trying to hit the pitches I can handle. ... Overall in baseball, not so much from High-A to Double A, it's ways guys are being pitched with hitters' counts -- 2-0, 3-1, 2-1. Guys aren't really throwing those get-me-over fastballs to try to get back in the count. They're working with their off-speed, throwing changeups, sliders, whatever it may be that they have. ... That's something that's changing and something I've learned to adjust to."
He's also learned to adjust to the off-the-field pressures that come with being a top pick and highly touted prospect.
After dipping into the perils of social media early in his career, he's learned to let the anonymously negative comments roll off his back, lending to his ability to be more relaxed at this stage of his progress.
"For me, it's about taking it day by day and staying relaxed," Moniak said. "The best thing is to block out the outside stuff and focus on playing baseball, having fun. You're on Twitter, you're on social media and you see things; most of it's negative. There are positives with people supporting, which is really cool, but you definitely see some negatives. I've learned to push that aside, take a step back and listen to who really matters."
One of the voices that resonates the most is his own, having professed to serving as his own hitting coach growing up, watching games and highlights on YouTube to try and duplicate the work of big league All-Stars and MVPs.
Adding to his own studies is the advice to stay true to himself and continue learning as much as he can on a daily basis to be the best version of himself, with a recent concentration on tightening things up at the plate.
Despite the slow start, the Fightin' Phils center fielder ranks in the top 10 in the league in hits (57), doubles (15), triples (6), runs scored (28), RBIs (32) and stolen bases (7) and seems to be gaining more comfort with each passing day.
"Going into every single season, first and foremost it's to stay healthy and play a full season. I think for me it's to get better at every aspect of my game. The big one for me right now is plate discipline. Getting good pitches to hit, not going out of my zone and trying to get a hit every at-bat, but instead going up and have quality at-bats," Moniak said. "If I can look back on the season in September and tell myself, 'Yeah, you did accomplish that,' I think that'd be huge for me."
In briefPoppin' off:
Hartford's Colton Welker
went hitless in his first four games of the season but leads the league with 64 hits. Since that opening drought, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect
has gone hitless in consecutive games only three times, the longest being three games. The Yard Goats corner infielder, who has 17 multi-hit games, has 10 RBIs in eight games in June after driving in nine in 26 games in May.Pen pal:Giants No. 15 prospectMelvin Adon
is beginning to get the hang of his new role in the bullpen. After serving as a starter in his first four pro seasons, the right-hander began the transition in the Arizona Fall League and has served much of his debut season in Richmond as the Flying Squirrels closer. Since back-to-back outings in which he surrendered three earned runs at the beginning of May, Adon has a 1.32 ERA with 18 strikeouts in his last 11 appearances. He's tied for fourth in the league with seven saves.Broken bats:
With more than half the season left to be played, the league is in danger of seeing its top hitter with a sub-.300 batting average for the second time ever and the first time since 1968, when Pittsfield's Tony Torchia hit a league-best .294. As it stands, only four qualified batters are at or over the .300 mark, with Trenton's Hoy Jun Park
leading the league at .305. The lowest league-leading average since 1968 was .310 by Bowie's Garabez Rosa
Craig Forde is a contributor to MiLB.com.