Top Draft pick Moniak singles in pro debut

Phillies prospect drives in go-ahead run in Gulf Coast League victory

Mickey Moniak follows in the footsteps of Pat Burrell (1998), the last top overall Phillies Draft pick. (Cliff Welch/

By John Parker / | June 29, 2016 3:30 PM

It didn't take long for top overall Draft pick Mickey Moniak to make his mark as a professional.

After a pair of strikeouts and a groundout his first three pro at-bats, the 18-year-old California native went the other way with a line-drive RBI single to left in the seventh inning, giving the Gulf Coast League Phillies a lead they would not relinquish in a 5-2 win over the host Yankees East in Tampa. He finished 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

Moniak, a left-handed-hitting outfielder, signed with the Phillies on June 20 for a well-under-slot $6.1 million bonus. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Moniak is often compared to Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich and projects as a speedy, talented hitter -- he batted .476 with 12 triples, seven home runs, 46 RBIs and a .921 slugging percentage in his senior year at La Costa Canyon (California) High School -- with the potential to play Gold Glove-caliber center field.

Moniak served as the designated hitter for the GCL Phillies on Wednesday and batted second, one slot above 2015 first-round pick Cornelius Randolph, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury. Randolph went 0-for-1 with a walk before being replaced in the fourth inning.

The last position player taken first overall out of high school was Houston shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012; he reached the big leagues in his fourth pro season and was named American League Rookie of the Year in 2015. The last time the Phillies had the first pick in the Draft, in 1998, they selected Pat Burrell.

Though some scouts question Moniak's power potential, Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz told he thinks Moniak will hit 15-22 homers in the big leagues.

"I think you'll have a Gold Glove center fielder who will hit in the middle of the lineup and be a leader on the team," Almaraz said.

The win gave the Phillies a 3-1 record in Rookie-level Gulf Coast League play. They square off against the Yankees East club again Thursday, this time at the Phillies' complex in Clearwater.

John Parker is an editor for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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