Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is Mike Mooney for real?

On Friday night, the Seals surprised many of their fans at Royal Athletic Park by starting the newly-signed Mike Mooney in centre field instead of Chris Van Rossum. Mooney went on to hit .455 with two homers and five RBIs on the weekend and he added some much-needed punch to the heart of the Victoria batting order. But who is Mike Mooney and is he likely to keep it up?

Mooney is a 27-year-old Californian who spent seven seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization after being drafted in the 16th round of the 2003 draft. His pro career got off to a great start, as he was named to the All-Star team in three leagues in his first two years in the Giants organization. He posted some great numbers in Rookie and low A ball, but he had difficulty at the higher levels and he only has a career .239 batting average in AA. He went on to appear in 20 games at the AAA level and posted a .236 batting average there. 

After a sub-par 2009 season in which Mooney hit only .253 for the Connecticut Defenders of the (AA) Eastern League, he was released by the Giants.  He started the 2010 season with the Schaumburg Flyers in the independent Northern League, but came to Victoria when the Seals ran into difficulty scoring runs and had an opening for an offensive sparkplug. In 23 games with the Flyers, Mooney hit .244 with 3 homers and 8 RBIs in 86 at-bats. He also stole three bases in three attempts.

It’s obvious that he has very good speed, judging by the career-high 38 stolen bases that he swiped for the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League in 2006. As he showed Seals fans on the weekend, he also has some pop in his bat. Mooney’s career high for round-trippers is only 12 in a season, but he is capable of piling up the extra-base hits and knocking in a bunch of runs. We should temper our expectations though, because he may not hit for a high average (at least in GBL terms) and he typically strikes out a lot more often than he walks. If all goes well though, the Seals will have a solid run-producer in the middle of their line-up.