Moniak (hamstring) returned from the 7-day injured list with Double-A Reading on Thursday, Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle reports. Moniak hasn't played since the end of June due to a strained hamstring. He'd shown significantly improved performance prior to suffering the injury, though his .266/.324/.437 line still isn't necessarily what one would expect from the first overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Moniak was placed on the minor-league injured list at Double-A Reading with a hamstring strain, Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports. The severity of the injury is not yet clear. The 21-year-old still doesn't look like a player who deserved to have been picked first overall back in 2016, but he's finally showing some signs of life as a prospect. His .266/.324/.437 slash line is good for a 121 wRC+, the first time he's been above 100 in that category since 2016. The Phillies have handled his development slowly and methodically, never promoting him in the middle of a season, so it's unlikely he has a chance to debut this season even if he returns from his injury soon and continues his solid performance
Moniak's second-half improvements can be traced to a change in approach, Ben Harris of The Athletic Philadelphia reports. After posting a .592 OPS in his first 54 games of the season, the 2016 first overall pick put up a much more respectable .774 OPS over his final 59 games. Several factors contributed to his improvement. He tripled his walk rate up to around seven percent while cutting his strikeout rate from 27 percent to 18 percent. His combined fly ball and line drive rate, which sat below 35 percent for the first three months of the season, was up to 42 percent in August. He also began pulling the ball more often. That combination of changes -- a better eye and a shift towards pulling the ball in the air -- is one that commonly sticks and improves a player's profile, so it could be the shift needed to put him back on the map as a legitimate prospect and unlock the potential that had seemed lost in Moniak.
Moniak has hit a strong .319/.382/.531 over his last 30 games for High-A Clearwater. Over that stretch, the young outfielder has walked 9.9 percent of the time while posting a 14.5 percent strikeout rate, significant improvement after he walked just 5.5 percent of the time last season while striking out at a 21.4 percent clip. Moniak's awful start to the season means his overall line is still poor (.266/.301/.380), and he's homered just four times in 101 games, but he's finally starting to tap into some of the potential that the Phillies saw when they drafted him first overall back in 2016. He still has a long way to go in order to live up his draft position, but he's at least no longer looking like a total non-prospect.
Moniak went 3-for-4 with three doubles for High-A Clearwater in its 4-2 win over Tampa on Tuesday. It was the second three-hit performance in four games for Moniak, who closed out July with a .277/.336/.489 slash line and 13 extra-base hits. Though he's trending upward after a dismal start to his season in the Florida State League, Moniak's lack of pop and poor on-base skills hinder his long-term outlook. The 2016 No. 1 overall pick doesn't currently profile as a big-league starting outfielder and no longer looks like an intriguing asset in dynasty settings.