Player: Mickey Moniak
DOB: May 13, 1998 (18 years old)
Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 lbs
School: La Costa Canyon High School (California)
College Commitment: UCLA
At the start of the spring, most considered Chaminade Prep's Blake Rutherford to be the top bat among the California high school crop.
While Rutherford is still one of the top prep hitters in this year's class and a potential star-caliber player in his own right, Mickey Moniak has passed him in the eyes of most scouts for the title of top prospect in the Golden State.
Moniak further confirmed that sentiment when he took home California Gatorade Player of the Year honors at the conclusion of a standout senior season at La Costa Canyon High School.
According to USA Today, Moniak was hitting .471 this spring with six home runs, 12 triples, 44 RBI and a .921 slugging percentage when he received the accolade.
Moniak already possesses a plus hit tool and has a chance to be a perennial .300 hitter and 40-double threat in the majors.
The fact he should have no problem sticking in center field long term and has above-average speed only furthers his standing as one of this year's elite prospects. Moniak told Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish:
I think balance is huge. Being the guy to get on base whether or its a base hit, a double, a triple or whatever it may be. Having that speed is a huge advantage on the basepaths, getting in scoring position, stealing bases, scoring runs. That's a huge plus. On the defensive side of things, it's a huge thing to cover ground and to not let any ball drop out there. My speed really helps with that.
If there's one below-average weapon in his toolbox right now, it's his power, but that could change as his 6'2" frame continues to fill out.
"Obviously, the big knock is my power. That will come, I've been growing into my body," Moniak told Cotillo. "I'm continuing to grow, continuing to go to the weight room to try to put on muscle and add strength. That's definitely been talked about; it's something that I definitely think will come. I don't think it's too much of a weak point."
Moniak also has some baseball bloodlines.
His grandfather, William Moniak, played six seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization and his father, Matt, played at San Diego State.
There's a lot to like about Moniak, who could be a five-tool contributor if he takes a step forward in the power department.
Here's what MLB.com had to say while ranking him as the No. 5 prospect in this year's class:
At the start of the summer, Moniak was thought of as a decent high school prospect from Southern California. By the time the showcase circuit was over, the outfielder had emerged as one of the best high school bats in the nation. He cemented that reputation by continuing to rake all spring.
Moniak makes consistent hard contact against high levels of competition. He has a good approach at the plate and can spray line drives to all fields. Moniak has more doubles power now, but there's room in his frame to add strength.
His above-average speed works on both sides of the ball, and some see a future Gold Glove caliber center fielder. Moniak gets high marks for his baseball instincts and effort.
That's about as positive of a scouting report as you'll see on a high school hitter. There are no glaring weaknesses for Moniak, and he even draws praise for his intangibles.
Pro Comparison: Christian Yelich
Moniak weighed in on who he feels is a suitable pro comparison in the aforementioned interview with Cotillo.
"I've heard, and I agree with this—Jacoby Ellsbury. He can hit for power, hit for average, steal bases and stick in center field."
That's not a bad comparison at all, but Christian Yelich might be a better fit.
Despite being a plus athlete with good speed, Moniak will probably never be a threat to steal 35-plus bases, and that's something Ellsbury has done five times in his career.
Yelich isn't the flashiest player in the league, but he does a little bit of everything well.
The 24-year-old plays left field for the Miami Marlins, but he'd be a center fielder on a lot of teams, and he's one of the game's best defensive outfielders.
Don't read into this comparison as a suggestion that Moniak will need to move to left field. It's meant to be nothing but complimentary from a defensive standpoint.
As for the offensive side of things, Yelich is in the midst of a breakout season in which he was hitting .328/.419/.511 entering play Monday.
He's put up those numbers with just five home runs, so he's not a slugger by any means. But he still has an OPS north of .900 thanks to a strong on-base percentage and a healthy number of doubles (16).
That's exactly the type of offensive impact Moniak could make if he continues on his current developmental path, and just like with Yelich, there is also potential for more.
Projection: Starting center fielder, potential leadoff hitter or No. 3 hitter depending on power development
Major League ETA: early 2021
Chances of Signing: 95 percent
Moniak committed to UCLA as a freshman in high school, but there's no reason to think he won't sign with the Phillies.