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Phillies’ top draft pick Mickey Moniak drops by Winter Meetings

The “very polite” 18-year-old was there to accept his national award.

Out for an evening stroll at the Winter Meetings last night, Jon Heyman ran into a young man in National Harbor and conducted some impromptu field work.

What was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft - a selection that cost his friend dearly - Mckenzie "Mickey" Moniak, doing there? For a reason more impressive than any of the reasons I had for doing most things at 18.

Former Phillies GM Pat Gillick was there, too, accepting an award for "lifetime achievement in scouting and player development." Baseball America, of course, is the sewer-dwelling rebel group that exists to more accurately disperse baseball awards. If their coup had not been quashed this year, would Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis been awarded the Gold Gloves they deserved? It’s impossible to know, while all too possible to speculate.

Instead of being at UCLA, the Phillies lured Moniak away and made him a teenager with over $6 million. A month ago, the team was holding the young outfielder back from Florida Instructional League play due to "hip tightness." I recall suffering a similar ailment as a young teen, as well. Perhaps Moniak should withdraw from the long periods of sitting for Halo tournaments which are clearly responsible for this, as an alarmed doctor loudly demanded that I do. "What’s a ‘Halo tournament?’" Moniak would probably ask. My god, that’s depressing.

Moniak, getting time in center and left field, hit over .300 for much of his first year with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, ending the season with a slash line of .284/.340/.409. With his La Costa Canyon (CA) high school team, he hit .476 with six homers, 12 triples, 40 runs, and one gold medal from helping Team USA win the 2015 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Japan. Cited as an all-around talent lacking only in power, Moniak responded by hitting the weights* and adding some muscle. If we use previous award-winners to dictate the future, which obviously we do, then we can say that Moniak is in good company as a No. 1 pick/BA HS Player of the Year award-winner, joining three others with that dual distinction in history: Josh Hamilton (1999), Joe Mauer (2001) and Justin Upton (2005).

Another early chapter of Moniak’s career complete, he is now focused on setting the league on fire with a simple all-caps philosophy:

*"Hitting the weights" sounds exactly like how someone at a Halo tournament would describe "working out."