The Tigers have an easily defined "type" when it comes to pitchers. Big fastball, big slider, less than no control. They do have a "type" when it comes to hitters too, but this one is harder to spot. While it is not nearly as exclusive as the pitcher's category, the favored batting style is power coupled with strikeouts aplenty, defense optional. Prime examples include Steven Moya and JaCoby Jones.
Mickey Moniak is not that player.
In fact, Moniak is the opposite type of player. He will hit for average and fits the profile of a good leadoff hitter. His "carrying tool", however, is his defense. In fact, of the top outfielders in a class rich with outfielders, he is the best defender, miles ahead of players like Corey Ray, Kyle Lewis, and Blake Rutherford.
Scouts and coaches absolutely love Moniak, and are rave about his tools. John Savage, the head coach of UCLA Bruins Baseball, said:
The combination of his bat and his ability to run makes Mickey one of the most dynamic players in the country. He has all of the tools to change a game on both sides of the ball
Defense, however, is what Moniak is known for and will always be known for. His defense is his bread and butter, and will be what keeps him up the middle long-term. He has center field locked down, and that increases his value, to the point where he was in the first overall conversation for a while. He reads the ball well off the bat and takes good, speedy routes to the ball.
Mario Phillips of Prospect Junkies had this to say on the topic of Moniak's defending abilities.
Moniak is a gifted athlete who can cover a lot of ground in CF. Moniak has an average arm, but his speed, first step quickness, and overall baseball instincts will allow him to provide solid defense in CF. Moniak has the ability to make difficult plays look easy in CF.
In this video, Moniak makes a catch running at full speed over his shoulder. It would be an impressive play for any player, no matter how talented. In a postgame interview, however, he acted like it was nothing, saying:
Off the bat it had a good sound. I saw the ball had good flight off the bat. I put my head down and ran full speed to my spot. I looked up at the last second and watched the ball fall into my glove.
If that is not a testament to his ability, I don't know what possibly could be.
Not only is he a gifted runner, he uses his speed well. He is a potent threat on the bases and is rarely, if ever, a TOOTBLAN victim, which would be a refreshment to Tigers fans everywhere. It is also something he values, saying in an interview with MLB Daily Dish:
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.
And then there is his bat. The most conservative scouts grade his hit tool at 60 and it has even been graded up to a 70. He makes consistent line-drive contact due to his fantastic bat control. His bat speed is above average and if he swings, he generally doesn't miss.
With his arm grading pretty consistently at average, he only knock on him is his power. It is graded pretty consistently at a little below average, but he is able to make line-drive contact. While he will never hit many home runs, he certainly will not be notorious for hitting weak dribblers.
The Philadelphia Phillies are said to be very interested in Moniak, and have the first overall selection, and The Colorado Rockies may also be in the mix at No. 4 overall. In a draft more confusing than celebrity love lives, who knows what will happen, and there is also a good chance that he may drop to ninth and be available for the Tigers to pick him. And that, my friends, would be a cause for rejoicing.