From many, there will be one. And while there’s still too early to speculate whether contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
La Costa Canyon (Carslbad)
Greatness Present: Historically speaking, people named Mickey with an alliterated “M” in their last name tend to be pretty good baseball players. Rumor has it some guy named Mantle swung a powerful stick. Former All-Star Mickey Morandini once turned an unassisted triple play. And who knew that Mickey Mouse was such an electrifying five-tool phenom?
Based on that rationale, there’s no reason to think La Costa Canyon standout Mickey Moniak won’t have a long and successful career on the baseball diamond. The UCLA signee is already the nation’s No. 7 recruit (Yes, No. 7. Somewhere, “The Mick” is smiling) as rated by Perfect Game USA and is one of the nation’s top prep draft prospects. He boasts an all-fields approach at the plate and electric defensive ability.
Moniak has backed up his considerable reputation with some eye-popping numbers to this point in his final high school season, making an early case for Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year honors both at the state and national level. So far in 2016, he’s produced a robust .483 average with nearly half his hits going for extra bases (13 of 28) including nine triples. For his efforts, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-handed swinging Moniak was named a Prep Athlete of the Month in March by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
He has reached base in all but one game this season for the Mavericks (11-5) and had just five strikeouts in his first 65 trips to the plate to date. As a guy who has produced a 102.5 MPH exit velocity with the swing of his bat, it’s easy to see why Moniak is regarded as one of the top prep hitters in the country.
Take that, Mickey Mouse.
Greatness Past: Moniak batted .426 with a 1.062 OPS as a junior in 2015 for La Costa Canyon, earning First Team All-Underclass Honors by Perfect Game USA. He is also a 2016 American Family Insurance All-USA Preseason Baseball Team honoree. He earned rave reviews at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic this past October by showing off a keen batting eye, swinging and missing just once in 13 at-bats.
Greatness Future: Moniak has committed to play at UCLA but is expected to be an early round selection in the MLB draft this June.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year races are far from over, and the National POY race just beginning to heat up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for regular updates on the top contenders making their case.