Carlos Moncrief Will Deliver More “Wow” Moments in 2015

Cleveland Indians outfield prospect Carlos Moncrief had his share of “Wow” moments in 2014. He had 22 of them to be exact.

The Jackson, Mississippi native’s 22 outfield assists tied the International League single season record and helped catapult the Columbus Clippers to a Western Division title.

To put Moncrief’s accomplishment into perspective, Yoenis Cespedes led Major League Baseball with 16 outfield assists, and the last big league baseball player to tally at least 22 in a season was Richard Hidalgo for the Texas Rangers in 2003.

“I never knew I was doing anything spectacular because nobody said anything,” Moncrief said in August after tying the record. “It wasn’t in the newspaper or on the news. I was just in Jackson, Mississippi doing it in someone’s backyard [Laughs]. Nobody knew. But now that people talk about it I try to stay as humble as I can.”

Drafted as a pitcher by the Tribe in 2008, Moncrief made a career changing decision to move from the mound to the batter’s box in the spring of 2010. The 25-year-old now opens the 2015 season as the organization’s 15th ranked prospect.

“I wanted to switch and do something I really loved and that was hit,” said Moncrief.

At 6’0, 220 pounds, Moncrief is one of the more physically gifted prospects the Indians have had in a long time. In 2013 with Double-A Akron, Moncrief posted career highs in batting average (.284), home runs (17), RBIs (75), and slugging percentage (.470). He also swiped 15 bags.

A career year in Akron landed him the everyday right fielder job for Columbus in 2014. In his first season at the Triple-A level, Moncrief was a monster in the outfield and highly productive at the plate, hitting .271 with 12 home runs, 61 RBIs, and a .431 slugging percentage.

“I always thought I could hit,” said Moncrief. “There were a lot of things I didn’t know about hitting which I’m learning now.”

Being one of the worst defensive teams in 2014, the Indians desperately need a boost on defense. Moncrief, who has racked up 68 outfield assists since 2011, is capable of providing that. Barring a couple injuries, Moncrief will likely open the season again at Triple-A Columbus. With Brandon Moss, David Murphy and Ryan Raburn all on big league contracts and out of options, a role for Moncrief in Cleveland seems unlikely to start the season. If a role opened, Tyler Holt would also be contending for that open spot.

Until that call comes, International League teams have 22 reasons to be extra cautious on the base paths when Carlos is in town.

Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer

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