Unless they saw him pull up in his Maserati sports car — the one splurge Mickey Moniak made on himself after being picked No. 1 in the June Major League Baseball Draft and inking a deal with a $6.1 million signing bonus with the Philadelphia Phillies — community members attending and watching the Sept. 14 Encinitas City Council meeting probably didn’t notice anything remarkable about the 18-year-old kid with the entourage of friends and family.
Until the meeting started.
That’s when Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, wearing a La Costa Canyon High shirt proudly as an alumni of the school, announced that Sept. 14, 2016 was Mickey Moniak Day in Encinitas.
Moniak, a star baseball player for the Mavericks the last four years, accepted the proclamation with a huge smile that betrayed his young age.
”We need more positive role models like you out in the community,” Gaspar told Moniak, who moved to Leucadia in 2008. “Please know that the city of Encintias is so proud of you.”
He was honored while being home for just a few days between the end of his first few months of minor league baseball (playing for the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in Florida), and a three-week Instructional League that began this week back in the Sunshine State.
“Encinitas will always be home and I’m honored that they did this for me, it’s a huge blessing,” Moniak told the Encinitas Advocate. “I still look forward to coming home and just being a normal kid.
“Playing four years at La Costa Canyon were some of the best years of baseball in my life … playing with all of my best friends to this day. “
Playing with some new friends in Florida, Moniak helped lead his team to the Gulf Coast League finals, where they lost in a best-of-three series. For the 46-game season, during which he played mostly center field and a little designated hitter, Moniak led the team with 28 RBIs, was fourth among players that played at least half the season with his .284 batting average and cracked 11 doubles, good for third on the squad.
“I had a good year, just getting a taste of pro ball is fun,” Moniak explained. “Playing every day gets a little tiring, I’m not gonna lie, but (I) knew it was going to be a grind and (I) prepared for that. And playing baseball every day for a living isn’t too bad.”
The gaudy numbers came as little surprise considering he hit .476 with a .921 slugging percentage his senior year at LCC and batted .390 for his prep career. Those numbers were the main reason the Phillies made him the first high school outfielder selected No. 1 overall since 2003.
“It’s more of an honor than anything else,” Moniak said of being picked first. “I look at it as a great opportunity, an opportunity to play baseball for a living and hopefully fulfill a major league dream.”
The next step toward that major league dream is the Instructional League, where Moniak will work on his game in a less competitive environment and learn from all of the organization’s coaches.
After that, its four months of rest back in Encinitas before spring training begins in March. Moniak expects to be assigned to Lakewood, New Jersey for low-A ball to start the 2017 season.
“I just go and play, my goal is to do my best every time I set foot on the field, do what I know I can do as a baseball player,” Moniak said “Hopefully if that works out, I’ll be moving up (the Phillies system quickly). I’m excited.”
Many members of his family and a support system of friends joined Moniak next to the City Council dias on Sept. 14, including his grandfather Bill Moniak, who spent six years in the Boston Red Sox organization, where he got some hitting tips from Ted Williams.
It certainly seems like some of those tips got passed down to his grandson.