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How One Angels Outfielder is Struck with Bad Luck

Mickey Moniak has been through a series of unfortunate events this season. Moniak is hitting a paltry .156/.206/.220 to go with a -0.7 fWAR.  This is coming off the heels of a successful 2023 campaign, in which Moniak swatted 14 home runs in just over 300 plate appearances. It’s only a month into the season, but what has been going on with Moniak?

Mickey Moniak’s Series of Unfortunate Events

What Went Right in 2023?

Last season, Moniak was given consistent playing time for the first time in his career. He was able to get into a career-high 85 games and rewarded the Angels with a 1.8 fWAR. For the first time in his career, Moniak started to look like he could live up to being a number 1 overall draft pick. In his draft profile, Moniak was touted to have “Consistently hard contact.” This translated to the big leagues in 2023, producing a barrel rate of 12.6% and a hard-hit rate of 36.9%.

There were some glaring concerns that went beyond the batted-ball outcome. Moniak carried a 35% K rate and an anemic 2.8% walk rate. That, combined with a .397 BABIP, meant something had to give. What’s interesting, though, is Mickey is coming back down to earth in a good way in 2024.

What About This Year?

Simply put, just about everything is going wrong in 2024 for Moniak, but it’s not because of his approach. This year, Mickey has raised his walk rate to 6.7% and brought his strikeout rate down to 30%. Are either of these numbers great? No, they aren’t, but they show a more measured approach at the plate. This is supported by a much lower O-Swing%, currently sitting at 38.8%, the lowest in his career aside from a cup of coffee in the shortened 2020 season. His contact rate is also up, with a 75.9% rate, again a career-high.

Beyond what Mickey is doing at the dish, he’s a net-neutral player. So far in 2024, he’s had a -1.4 UZR, which makes him about average in the field, and a -0.8 baserunning score. So really what it comes down to is what he can do with the stick.

Just Unlucky So Far

When it’s all put together, it looks like Moniak is just getting unlucky. He’s taking a much better approach this year and is still hitting the ball fairly hard. Fangraphs is projecting him to be about a league-average bat the rest of the way, with only part-time play. The upside is there, though, and with Mike Trout going down with injury, there may be room for more consistent at-bats, which is all he needs.

Main Photo: © Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports


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