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Carlos Moncrief

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Carlos Antwan Moncrief

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An outfield prospect with the Cleveland Indians, Carlos Moncrief saw his picture become a web sensation during the early days of spring training in 2014. In a Cactus League game, he made a nice running catch to deprive Kristopher Negron of the Cincinnati Reds of a hit. By coincidence, he made the catch just in front of a billboard on the outfield fence at Goodyear Ballpark put up by a homebuilding company and depicting a kitchen at full scale. The picture makes it look as if he stepped into the room to make the catch, snagging the ball in front of the refrigerator.

Moncrief was first drafted out of a high school in Mississippi in the 20th round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He decided to attend Chipola College instead of signing, and was drafted again a year later, this time by the Indians, in the 14th round in 2008, one pick after David Phelps. The scout was Chuck Bartlett. He signed in time to play 9 games for the GCL Indians that summer. He was a pitcher at the time, and had no record and a 13.50 ERA in 6 innings. The Indians moved their rookie-league entry to the Arizona League in 2009, and he went 1-2, 6.51 in 19 games for the AZL Indians. He struck out 39 in 27 1/3 IP but threw 7 wild pitches.

Given his lack of success on the mound but his general athleticism and outfielder's build, the Indians decided to make him a position player in 2010. He was assigned to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers that season, where he hit .241/.324/.380 in 66 games as a right fielder, earning a late-season promotion to the Advanced Class A Kinston Indians (going 1 for 9 with a double and walk).

In 2011, he was with the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League where he hit .233 in 122 games, but with very good power and excellent speed, attested by 26 doubles, 7 triples, 16 homers and 20 steals in 27 tries. He scored 73 runs, drew 76 walks and struck out 158 times. He also had 21 outfield assists but also 12 errors. He tied for 8th in the MWL in triples, tied T.J. Mittelstaedt for 4th in walks and tied for second in whiffs (3 shy of leader Yazy Arbelo). He led Indians farmhands in runs (two ahead of Tim Fedroff), tied Matt McBride for 10th in doubles, tied Ronny Rodriguez for third in triples, tied Chun-Hsiu Chen for 7th in home runs, tied Bryson Myles for 6th in steals, was second in walks (two behind Tyler Holt), was 6th in total bases and led in strikeouts (21 ahead of Alex Lavisky).

He continued to improve in 2012, with the Carolina Mudcats, who had in the interim replaced Kinston as Cleveland's top Class A farm team. He played 101 games, hitting .249/.339/.465, with 23 doubles, 15 homers and 17 steals in 19 attempts. Another sign that he was getting the hang of hitting as a professional was that he cut his strikeouts from 158 to 126. He tied for 9th in the Carolina League in homers. Among Indians farmhands, he tied Jesus Aguilar for 6th in home runs and tied Joel Mejia and José Ramírez for 9th in steals. He was 7 for 42 with 6 walks, 19 strikeouts, two doubles, a home run and three steals for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.

In 2013, Moncrief made the leap from interesting player to genuine prospect with a very solid season season with the Akron Aeros of the AA Eastern League. In spite of the jump in caliber of play, all of his offensive numbers improved: he hit .284/.354/.470 in 129 games, with 26 doubles, 7 triples and 17 homers. He scored 77 runs and drove in 75, both personal highs, stole 15 bases and drew 55 walks while striking out only 98 times. He had 16 assists, 7 errors and an impressive 8 outfield double plays. He was 8th in the EL in slugging, 6th in OPS (between Alex Dickerson and Jim Murphy), tied Josh Rodriguez for 6th in runs, tied for 6th in triples, was 7th in RBI (between Tyler Collins and Javier Herrera) and was 4th with 230 total bases (trailing Caleb Joseph, Murphy and Herrera. He made the EL All-Star outfield alongside Herrera and Dickerson. Among Indians farmhands, he was 4th in runs (between José Ramírez and Erik Gonzalez), tied Francisco Lindor for third in triples, tied Jeremy Hermida for first in dingers, tied for 8th in walks and was third in RBI (after Aguilar and Gonzalez). Baseball America rated him as having the best outfield arm in the Indians chain. He struggled (.230/.274/.280, 34 K in 100 AB) for the Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

The Indians rewarded him after the season by adding him to the major league roster.

Sources include 2014 Indians Media Guide

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