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Carlos Moncrief: 2014 Cleveland Indians Player Profile

Carlos Moncrief is Biding His Time

“When I die I will have to go before him. And he will ask me ‘What is the riddle of steel?’ And if I don’t know he will cast me out of Valhalla and laugh at me! That’s Crom! Strong on his mountain!”

Discovering the reason why we are on this planet has dominated human thought for millenia. Even as far back as the Hyborian Age the Cimmerians sought to answer that riddle of steel, and today even in the world of baseball, players seek to find a place for themselves, a way to contribute, a reason for being there. Some have it come naturally – Miguel Cabrera has hit his entire life without any outstanding training. Some must go a new path late in life – Jim Bouton and R.A. Dickey lost the ability to pitch conventionally, so they found the knuckleball. And former pitching prospect Carlos Moncrief has discovered his own special path, forging himself from mediocre pitcher into one of the better hitting prospects in the Indians’ system.

Moncrief is an interesting case – at 24 this year and still with the Double A Rubber Ducks last year he’s considered a bit old, though converting to the outfield three years ago should give him a bit of a grace period especially with how quickly he’s moved through the system. Baseball America rated him as the Indians’ 15th best prospect and up until Tyler Naquin showed up he was considered to have the best outfield arm on the farm. He is raw still, behind a few years in development perhaps, but there’s plenty of talent there. The Indians must see something, placing him on the 40-man roster and he’s moved up to Columbus to start the year. IT makes sense too – just take a look at his numbers in the Eastern League last season:

 

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

SBl

BB%

K%

wOBA

wRC+

2013

552

.282

.354

.470

17

15

10.0

17.8

.368

126

He’s not exactly committing war crimes on baseballs in Akron, but those are pretty great numbers even if he hadn’t just taken up hitting full-time, in a league that’s historically pitcher friendly no less. In particular that walk rate is kind of nice and in conjunction with a not astronomical strikeout rate it’s a vote of confidence for the young man. He’s likely to top out a fourth outfielder, but sometimes people can surprise you. After all, look at what  Choo turned into – he went from pitching to hitting in his early 20’s and ended up as the de-facto star for Cleveland for about a year and a half. Speaking of which …

“My name is Julius and I’m your twin brother.”

Just what does Carlos Moncrief project out to be? I just mentioned Shin-Soo Choo and that could about be the ceiling of what to expect when you talk about Moncrief. Like, vaulted, Gothic cathedral type of ceiling. Achievable, but only because anything is possible. He has yet to sniff the majors, but he’s incredibly athletic, he’s shown patience and power at the plate, pretty good speed in the field and he’s got a laser gun on his shoulder. The guy was in his 20’s before he even started playing in the field so the optimist in me is bellowing about this guy’s aptitude. Could it be that we’ve discovered a 12 carat diamond in an acre of rough? Probably not, but then again Yan Gomes happened last year.

In several different interviews Carlos Moncrief has come across as a guy with a strong head on his shoulders who recognizes his weaknesses as much as his strengths. That’s important, because he’s got a lot of work to. Granted, it’s an interview and these days athletes have a preternatural ability to spout buzzwords without saying anything at all, but it made me feel good, so I figured I’d pass the savings on to you. I won’t go to the trouble of imagining a projection because who knows with prospects anyway, but I think he’ll be really good in Columbus. Moncrief was in the running for Eastern League MVP for much of last year and I feel like that aforementioned good head on his shoulders will do him well in 2014.

Tags: Carlos Moncrief Cleveland Indians

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