Red Sox prospect Moncada shines in Fall League debut

Baseball's No. 1 prospect notches two extra-base hits in Surprise's win

Red Sox prospect Moncada shines in Fall League debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After getting his first taste of the Major Leagues, No. 1 overall prospect Yoan Moncada is already making his presence felt in the Arizona Fall League.

Moncada helped the Surprise Saguaros kick off the Fall League with an 11-2 victory over Mesa on Tuesday afternoon, as he went 3-for-5 with a solo home run and a double en route to finishing a triple shy of the cycle. The Red Sox's top-ranked prospect also scored three runs and tallied a pair of RBIs out of the leadoff spot in what was first game action since he struck out as a pinch-hitter with the Red Sox on Sept. 12.

Box score

"I've been doing the same stuff as I was in the big leagues, just trying to stick to the same routine and not change everything, and it paid off today," Moncada said following his impressive Fall League debut.

The Red Sox selected Moncada's contract from Double-A Portland on Sept. 2, after the 21-year-old switch-hitter had batted a combined .294/.407/.511 with 52 extra-base hits and 45 steals over 106 games between the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels. Though he made an immediate impact by collecting multiple hits in his first two Major League starts, Moncada struggled at the plate from there forward, striking out in each of his final nine regular-season at-bats. On Sept. 29, the Red Sox decided to send Moncada to the team's Spring Training facility in Florida to allow him to prepare for the Fall League.

"I only played in a couple games [in Florida] but still got to see a lot of live pitching," Moncada said. "It helped to keep my swing consistent and kept me focused before coming here."

Now playing in the Fall League, Moncada, who has played in 114 games this year between the Minor and Major Leagues, is working hard to make strides on both sides of the ball despite feeling the physical effects of the longest season of his career.

"This is the first time I've played 100-plus games," Moncada said. "I feel a little banged up right now, but it's nothing that I can't get through.

"Right now I'm working a lot of my defense, really trying to improve my hands at third base. At the plate, I'm just trying to stay consistent so I can make adjustments against pitchers out here."

The Saguaros pushed across the game's first runs in the bottom of the third inning, when they scored three runs on five hits and sent nine hitters to the plate. Moncada started the scoring with an RBI single to center field to plate Andy Ibanez (Rangers' No. 2), who had opened the frame with a leadoff double. After a single by No. 47 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 2), Ryan O'Hearn (Royals' No. 7) and catcher Mitch Garver extended Surprise's lead to 3-0 with back-to-back run-scoring knocks.

Mesa would respond with their first run of the contest in the top of the fourth, when No. 86 overall prospect Anthony Alford (Blue Jays' No. 3) delivered a two-out RBI single to right field. However, the Saguaros got the run right back on Moncada's solo shot to the opposite field in the bottom half of the frame. Facing right-hander Cameron Hill, Moncada, who started at third base, blasted the first pitch he saw, a 92-mph fastball on the outer-third of the plate, over the wall in left field.

Surprise added to its lead with four more runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Ibanez's two-out, two-run double to the left-centerfield gap representing the big hit in the frame, and then put the game out of reach with three more runs in the subsequent inning.

Surprise starting pitcher Josh Staumont, the Royals' No. 10 prospect, was sharp in his Fall League debut, allowing just two hits over three scoreless frames to record the win. Using a fastball that comfortably sat in the mid-90s and touched 98 mph, as well as a sharp curveball that sat at 79-82 mph, the 22-year-old issued one walk and struck out three while throwing 27 of his 45 pitches for strikes.

Moncada and Gordon paced the Saguaros' offense with three hits apiece, with the latter finishing 3-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. Ibanez also collected multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, while O'Hearn reached base in three of his five plate appearances and scored twice in a 2-for-4 performance.

Leadoff hitter and left fielder Greg Allen (Indians' No. 19) was the offensive star for Mesa as he collected three of his club's nine hits, including the team's only extra-base hit. The 23-year-old also swiped a pair of bags in the contest after going 45 for 58 on the base paths during the regular season. No. 25 overall prospect Bradley Zimmer (Indians' No. 1) had a solid day at the plate, finishing 1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base, while catcher Danny Jansen (Blue Jays' No. 30) notched a pair of singles in four at-bats from the bottom of the order.

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