Simon Muzziotti is the likely choice to replace outfielder Mickey Moniak on the Phillies 28-man roster barring the signing of a free agent or a deal to acquire a player with more experience. The spot opened up because of a hand injury to Moniak, who likely would have been the Opening Day center fielder when the Phillies play that Oakland A’s in Philadelphia. Muzziotti gains the spot kind of by default. The Phillies have just two minor league outfielders on their 40-man roster and he is the only one who can play center field.
In saying that Muzziotti would get the spot by default, there is no negativity cast on the 23-year old. The point is that he has a bright future and is a definite prospect, but he simply is not ready to be a major leaguer. Keep in mind that there was no minor league season in 2020 and last season, visa issues kept Muzziotti from coming to the United States for an extended period of time, allowing him to play in just 20 minor league games. Those 20 games were distributed among all of the Phillies minor league levels from the Florida Complex League all the way up to Triple-A where he played in eight games.
OFFENSIVE SKILLS: Don’t look for Muzziotti to become an honorary member of the Broad Street Bashers at any point in his career. He can take a ball out on occasion, but in 347 minor league games, Muzziotti has gone deep just four times. He is more of a slice hitter who lives primarily on just looking to get the ball into an open space and use his above average speed to his advantage to get on base. In his pro career, Muzziotti is a lifetime .268/.316/.340 hitter with a 71-percent success rate (67-for-95) in stolen bases. Muzziotti is at his best when he doesn’t try to pull the ball and instead looks to go the other way with pitches. When he gets pull happy, he is prone to slumps at the plate.
DEFENSIVE SKILLS: A true center fielder, Muzziotti has made just four errors in his minor league career in 521 chances for a .992 fielding percentage. One of the four errors came as a right fielder, a position that he has barely played, primarily because although his throws are accurate, his arm strength just isn’t there to play right field on any regular basis. Muzziotti has played just 18 games in right and 21 in left, while logging over 250 games in center. He is listed as an above average fielder with good range, who can be trusted to play in center field probably at any level.
THE MUZZIOTTI NOTEBOOK: Simon is pronounced “Simone”… Muzziotti originally was signed as an international free agent by Boston for just a $300,000 signing bonus even though he was a well regarded prospect. An investigation by MLB concluded that his agent had basically taken kickbacks on players and Muzziotti was declared a free agent again and signed with the Phillies… Muzziotti had somewhat of a breakout season in 2019, making his misfortunes in ’20 and ’21 even more glaring. In 2019 he was with Clearwater (High-A at that time) and slashed 3-28-.287/.337/.372 with the Threshers and was successful on 64-percent of his stolen base attempts (21-of-33)…Born in Caracas, Venezuela on December 27, 1998.
OTHER CF OPTIONS: The Phillies would have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to add anyone else from their minor league system – other than Jhailyn Ortiz – and there aren’t a lot of good options to do that. If they did go that route, the options would be: John Andreoli (has played CF and has some MLB experience), Dalton Guthrie (minimal experience in CF, but has looked good there in the early going this season and is also off to a hot start offensively for Lehigh Valley), Justin Williams (minimal CF experience, but has played at the MLB level).