It’s not easy to become a Major League Baseball player. And then spend two years in the minors pitching before you decide to make a position change? Immediately puts you at a disadvantage with your competition. But don’t tell that to the Cleveland Indians Carlos Moncrief.
Drafted as a pitcher in the 14th round of the 2008 MLB June Amatuer Draft, Moncrief made the conversion to the outfield in the 2010 season. At 26, Moncrief is “old” for a prospect. But after sacrificing two years of his playing career to start over as an outfielder, things have started to come together for him.
In 2013, at Double-A Akron, Moncrief had his finest season, slashing .284/.354/.470, with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs in 129 games. He stole 15 bases, but was caught seven times as speed is not his strongest point–but also not a liability.
Last season at Triple-A Columbus, he posted similar type numbers, batting .271 with 12 homers and 63 RBIs in 132 games played.Moncrief has worked tirelessly to close the gap that he had after starting as a pitcher in the Indians farm system. He’s indeed narrowed the margin, but he’s now competing against
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
He’s by no means old, but just a few years behind at the same level of development as some other prospects. And expecting him to continue to trend upward is unlikely. What you see is what you may get from here on out, but he’s showing that’s not a bad thing.
After opening Spring Training with a 4-for-4 day against the Reds on Wednesday, he took part in a “B” squad game on Thursday, going 3-for-3 with a single, double, home runs and a walk.
Moncrief is on the 40-man roster, so his arrival may not be far off. But he’s competing with an already full outfield. And much of the “demand” from around the baseball world has been for a right-handed power bat, which he is not.
However, if he continues to swing a hot bat this spring, he’s going to force the issue sooner than later. But it’s likely to take an injury elsewhere for him to get his shot out of camp.