Upon being selected eighth overall by the Phillies in the 2017 draft, outfielder Adam Haseley received some high praise from the brain trust in Philly:
“He’s got outstanding ability, outstanding tools,” Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. “He can run, he can throw, he can hit and he can hit with power. He’s got incredible intangibles for the game. He’s got outstanding makeup, what we consider makeup, his character, his intelligence, his field awareness. He’s really good.”
A more polished product than most draftees, having played at the collegiate level at Virginia, Haseley was expected to progress quickly through the minor league ranks. Haseley- who modeled his game after former All-Star outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury- dominated in his senior season at the University of Virginia before being taken by the Phils. The left-handed batter slashed .390/.491/.659 in his final collegiate campaign. Haseley also blasted 14 home runs in just 58 games that year.
What was most impressive about that season, however, was his incredible vision and plate discipline. In 58 games, Haseley walked 44 times and struck out just 21 times. This is quite a feat for a 21-year old and one that drew praise from the Phils scouting director on draft night:
“Command of the strike zone,” Almaraz said. “He’s everything you look for in a hitter. He’s patient. He’s disciplined. When he gets his pitch, he’s very aggressive. He attacks it and tries to impact the baseball. And that’s what we want.”
Haseley himself spoke about being patient at the plate and the importance of drawing walks:
“It helps you in more ways than you think, being able to get on base when you’re struggling,” Haseley said. “You can draw a walk and build some momentum with that. It’s something you have to put a lot of mental focus on. It’s how disciplined you can be.”
Despite a torrid senior season at Virginia, Haseley got off to a rather slow start to begin his minor league career. The 2017 first-rounder sported a respectable batting average across three levels of Class-A ball but experienced a huge drop in power to begin his pro career. In the 58 games prior to his promotion to Double-AA, Haseley hit just 3 home runs. Again, he wasn’t a disaster at the plate, collecting hits at a respectable clip, but his power numbers certainly raised some eyebrows. After joining the Reading Fightin’ Phillies at Double-AA, however, Haseley seemed to flip a switch.
The Phils’ 2017 first-round pick wasted no time putting his Double-AA foes on notice by going 5 for 13 (.385) with a double, two homers and two walks in his first four games. His torrid stretch earned him Eastern League Player of the Week honors in his first try. Haseley didn’t slow down from there, either. In 39 games at the Double-AA level, the talented outfielder slashed .316/.403/.417 and seemed to regain his power at the plate- smacking 6 home runs during that span.
During his time in Double-AA, Haseley focused more on hard contact and keeping the ball on a line, as opposed to elevating it and trying to hit a home run each time up to bat. The change obviously paid huge dividends and eventually lead to a promotion to Triple-AAA- where he continued to thrive.
In 79 games with the IronPigs at Lehigh Valley, Haseley batted an even .300 with 5 home runs and a healthy dose of doubles. He portrayed exactly the type of quality hitter the Phillies envisioned when they drafted him eighth overall and still had a ton of room for growth, being just 23-years old.
After losing OF Andrew McCutchen for the season to an ACL tear and CF Odubel Herrera to suspension, the Phils were forced to call up Haseley just two short years removed from his senior season at Virginia. Though he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire at the senior circuit, the rookie outfielder has performed admirably during his stint with the Phillies.
Through sixteen games with the Phils, Haseley is slashing .259/.298/.491 and has already matched his home run total through his first year in Low-A with three. The success and development of Haseley makes it easy to wonder if 2016 first overall pick Mickey Moniak can experience similar growth.
Moniak, 21, is currently a member of the Reading Phillies at the Double-AA level. On the surface, this seems like a cause for concern, as one would expect the first overall pick drafted in 2016 to make the big-league roster before the 2017 first-round pick. However, it’s important to note that Moniak was drafted as a much more raw prospect out of high school. Haseley, meanwhile, was much more refined upon being selected by the Phils, having played four years at the collegiate level.
An increase in production could be in store for Moniak, though, as he is now working with the same minor league staff that Haseley was when he began his hot streak. Through 92 games at Double-AA, Moniak is slashing .264/.325/.447 with 7 home runs and 47 RBIs to boot. Like Haseley, Moniak bats from the left side and seems to be heating up with the Reading Fightin’ Phillies. Moniak is batting .272 so far in the second half in Reading and has cut down his strikeout rate as well. Hopefully the 21-year old continues to improve under the tutelage of the minor league staff and can make his way to the big-league roster sooner rather than later.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports