2014 Cleveland Indians Top Prospects #10: Carlos Moncrief, OF


Credit: Sports Crazy, Flickr.com

Carlos Moncrief Making Strides in Transition from Pitcher to Outfielder

Carlos Moncrief burst onto the prospect scene in 2013 with a .284/.354/.470 triple slash at Double-A Akron. The big year wasn’t a surprise to many as Moncrief always had tools, but was working on becoming an everyday player when he was originally drafted as a pitcher out of college in 2008.

Moncrief had been showing steady improvement over the past few years in cutting down on strikeouts while still displaying good power and above-average speed. Last year, Moncrief took his largest step by cutting down his strikeout rate by almost half–from 31 percent in 2012 to 17.8 in 2013–while also walking in 10 percent of his plate appearances.

Feb 24, 2014; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians outfielder Carlos Moncrief takes part in the annual photo day at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Improving his contact rate while maintaining a healthy walk rate greatly improves Moncrief’s chances of being an everyday player at the next level if he can continue his success. Since 2011, he has hit at least 15 home runs and stolen just as many bases in each season. His .215 and .185 ISO ratings from the past two seasons hint at even some more potential power growth, which wouldn’t be out of the question since he’s only been a full-time position player for four years.

The best tool Moncrief possesses is (unsurprisingly) his arm. It’s on par with Tyler Naquin‘s, if not better. That has mostly put Moncrief in right field for his minor league career, with some time at center field as well. Right is his more likely destination long-term, but he can fill in at center if the need should ever arise.

If there is a downside, it’s Moncrief’s age. At 24, he’s not going to garner much hype, but developmentally he’s on-par with many of his peers in Double-A due to his position change. He has more room for growth than your average 24-year-old prospect.

Barring injury, Carlos Moncrief probably won’t debut until September since outfield is currently a logjam in Cleveland. With Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and David Murphy guaranteed spots and Nyjer Morgan and Jeff Francouer also in camp, there’s no need to rush Moncrief so sending him down to Triple-A is likely in 2014. When promoted, Carlos Moncrief probably won’t be handed a job as an everyday player, but he certainly has the ability to earn one in time if he continues his steady improvement.