Red Sox top prospects start strong for Salem

Benintendi records career-high four hits, Moncada notches two

Red Sox top prospects start strong for Salem

The Class A Advanced Salem Red Sox boast arguably the best and most exciting offense in the Minor Leagues, one that features three Top 100 prospects in Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. Picking up where they left off last season at Class A Greenville, Moncada and Benintendi were at the forefront of Salem's 18-hit attack Thursday in a 13-4 win over Carolina.

Salem's offense came out of the gate on fire, batting around twice and scoring 11 runs in the game's first three innings. Moncada, Boston's top prospect and No. 6 overall on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100, reached base four times out of the leadoff spot, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two walks, a stolen base and an RBI. Benintendi, the No. 24 overall prospect, went 4-for-5 with a double, triple and plated three runs out of the three-hole. Benintendi's four hits were a career high as a pro.

Expectations are sky-high for Moncada, who signed for an amateur-record $31.5 million bonus a year ago and then turned in an impressive pro debut at Greenville, where he hit .278/.380/.438 with 30 extra-base hits and 49 stolen bases, all while showcasing the loud tools that made him such a coveted international prospect.

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Benintendi, meanwhile, has the potential to make a meteoric rise to the big leagues much like Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto did in 2015. The Red Sox signed him for $3,590,400 as the seventh overall pick last year's Draft after he led the NCAA Division I with 20 home runs at Arkansas and won all of the major college Player of the Year awards. In his pro debut, Benintendi hit a combined .313/.416/.556 with 11 homers and 10 steals in 54 games between Short-Season Lowell and Greenville.

Moncada and Benintendi were just two of seven Salem hitters to collect multiple hits on Opening Night, as Mauricio Dubon (No. 12) and Nick Longhi (No. 17) tallied exactly two runs and two hits each in the contest, with the latter picking up his first triple. Red Sox No. 2 prospect Devers (No. 16 overall) was the only player who didn't notch a hit, though he did draw a walk and drive in a run.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.