The Philadelphia Phillies shocked the sporting world Thursday night by selecting high school outfielder Mickey Moniak with the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft.
Entering draft night, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Phillies’ choice, with several promising college prospects rumored to be preferred over Moniak. However, after drafting the California teenager, the Phillies revealed that they were sold on Moaik for several weeks.
Mickey Moniak: In the footsteps of Delmon Young
“I definitely wouldn’t say there’s pressure. I’m excited to hopefully prove the Phillies right,” Moniak, who became the first prep outfielder to go No. 1 since Delmon Young in 2003, told MLB Network.
Moniak also becomes Phillies’ first No. 1 pick since they drafted slugger Pat Burrell in 1998. So what led to the team pencilling in on a high schooler? “Collectively, we believe Mickey was the best player available in the draft. He’s a true center fielder with incredible offensive ability and the potential to be a perennial All-Star,” Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies scouting director, said in a team statement.
MLB.com reporter Jim Callis has lauded the Phillies for going with their instinct. “Even though he’s a high school player, Moniak has one of the highest floors in the Draft. He’s a surefire up-the-middle-player in a draft that doesn’t have many of them. He’s going to hit. He’s going to run. He’s going to play a good center field. And his power has improved this season. I like this pick.”
Reds select Nick Senzel
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds selected slugger Nick Senzel with the second overall pick. “This is the guy we wanted,” scouting director Chris Buckley said of the Tennessee third baseman. “He’s a very polished player, one of the better hitters, if not the best hitter, in the draft.”
The Atlanta Braves drafted Ian Anderson, another high schooler, with their third overall pick. Colorado Rockies and Miwaukee Brewers selected Riley Pint and Corey Ray respectively.
Mickey Moniak is not the only No. 1 pick that becomes the toast of Philadelphia this summer. Incidentally, the 76ers also own the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft with which they are expected to select Ben Simmons.