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Angels' Mickey Moniak looks to build on breakthrough season

Jeff Fletcher, The Orange County Register on

Published in Baseball

TEMPE, Ariz. — Mickey Moniak is finally beginning a season without the weight of unmet expectations.

Moniak, a former No. 1 overall draft pick who never found his big-league footing until 2023, comfortably has a job as a regular in the Angels’ lineup.

“It feels different in the sense of finally having the success I had and almost validating what I’ve been doing in the offseason,” Moniak said.

Moniak, 25, had hit just .157 with a .486 OPS over 167 plate appearances in parts of three seasons with Philadelphia and the Angels going into last year, when he hit .280 with 14 home runs and an .802 OPS in 323 plate appearances.

“He’s a professional hitter,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “He really is. He can handle the bat.”

Washington likes Moniak as his leadoff hitter and right fielder, although he might also get some time at designated hitter or another outfield spot when either Mike Trout or Taylor Ward has the day off.

 

The remaining questions are whether he can hit lefties and whether he can improve his strikeout-walk ratio.

Moniak drew nine walks and struck out 113 times last season.

“Something I do really well and something that makes me who I am is I am aggressive,” Moniak said. “If pitches are in the zone, I put them in play and hit them hard. The mindset for me is not necessarily trying to walk more. It’s more swinging at the pitches in the zone and being aggressive and if it’s not there, take it. It’s a fine line between not taking away my aggressiveness and being more patient. But that’s something we’re working on this spring.”

As for hitting lefties, Moniak has a career .172 average. Last year, though, when he got his first real shot against lefties, he hit .222.

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