Top 50 Prospects: #23 - Michael Mooney

Michael Mooney spent the last two seasons in the rookie league, biding his time. 2005 brought him his chance at A ball, and he took full advantage of the chance.

Date of Birth: 06/08/1983 Position: OF Height: 6'1" Weight: 205 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 16th Round (#483 Overall) of the 2003 Draft
2005 Stats
Salem-Keizer - Short A .342 .389 .516 .905 304 57 104 20 9 5 29 20 64 13 4

It’s always nice to see a local player get drafted, and the Giants have made a habit of scouting the local junior colleges well. In 2003, they picked Nate Schierholtz from Chabot College in Hayward early, but a lot of people missed that they also got Michael Mooney from the College of San Mateo later in the 16th round.

The Northern California Junior College Player of the Year in 2003, Michael Mooney hit .436 with 22 home runs with the Bulldogs on the hill. But he suffered from the numbers game in 2004 and had to repeat the Rookie league more because the Giants were having problems filling out the roster than anything else. Mooney did exactly what he should have, improving on his numbers from the previous year and leading the team to a championship.

2005 he finally got his shot in A-Ball, moving up to Salem-Keizer, and showed he belonged. Mooney finished 2nd in the Northwest League in batting average, 4th in doubles, 1st in triples, 4th in slugging, 6th in on base percentage, and tied for 5th in stolen bases. He stayed healthy and performed well all season, staying in the heart of an S-K offense that had to be altered due to injuries and promotions throughout the short season. And wherever he’s played, he’s been one of the best athletes on the team.

Mooney does have some things to overcome. He plays hard, but he also takes things hard mentally, and might be prone to slumps, which is something he really hasn’t had to deal with yet. That shouldn’t be a problem as he matures with more experience, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Also, particularly from spending 3 years in the short leagues, he’s a little older than the ideal player coming out of Low-A and will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft very soon if he continues to perform. And Mooney will probably always have some strikeout problems, though he draws enough walks to keep up his OBP.

So why does Mooney rank higher than his teammate Pablo Sandoval? Though Sandoval is young and doesn’t strikeout much, Mooney is a more complete player. A former center fielder, he plays right with good CF range, but an ideal RF arm. That’s the ideal defender for SBC Park, and for a division with four very deep right-center corners. Mooney also has plus speed, and is a threat on the basepaths and turns many doubles into triples. And although there’s some worries about his hitting at higher levels, he so far has been able to consistently improve his batting average, and kept his on base percentage and slugging percentage high while doing so. He has a ways to go before he’ll match the 22 home runs he hit at CSM with a metal bat, but his strength should continue to develop.

He’ll turn 23 in June of this year, and it remains to be seen where he’ll be celebrating it. The next logical step is Augusta, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Giants give Mooney a ‘Frandsen push.’ Mooney’s old enough that a push will help him, and playing close to his Bay Area roots will probably offset a lot of the pressure that would come with the move. His future looks bright, as it would for any player with good showings in all five tools. There’s a lot of things that could happen, and he could project as a #2 type of hitter if he can keep drawing walks, or a #3-4 hitter if his power comes in, or a solid back of the order hitter with defensive skills if his offensive skills waver as he faces higher levels of competition. He’s got enough talent to have other things to fall back on if his strikeouts get too high or his power doesn’t fill out, which is the kind of versatility most prospects would love to have.

In the Giants system, suddenly chocked full of outfield prospects, Mooney doesn’t get a lot of attention. But if he can put together a 4th year of impressive offensive stats with the threats he poses on the basepaths and in the outfield, it’ll be hard to ignore him for much longer.

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