White Sox No. 1 excels on Minor League Opening Day
By Mike Rosenbaum
Yoan Moncada finished his spring campaign on a positive note, hitting a home run and two doubles en route to four RBIs in his final game in big league camp. The White Sox No. 1 prospect continued to swing a hot bat in his Triple-A debut on Thursday night, going 3-for-6 to help Charlotte defeat Norfolk, 9-8, in 11 innings.
After getting off to a slow start this spring, Moncada, acquired from Boston in December in the Chris Sale blockbuster, found his groove down the stretch, collecting hits in seven of his final eight spring games to post a .317/.391/.683 slash line with eight extra-base hits (including three home runs) and 13 RBIs.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday
• No. 29 overall prospect Brent Honeywell (Rays' No. 2) set a Double-A Montgomery Opening Day record by striking out 12 hitters in six innings in a 6-2 loss against Biloxi. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed two earned runs on three hits, one walk and two hit batsmen, while throwing 58 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
• Double-A Jackson shut out Birmingham on Opening Night thanks to a strong start from D-backs No. 5 prospect Taylor Clarke, who allowed two hits in five scoreless innings to record the win. The 6-foot-4 right-hander, a third-round pick in 2015, notched seven strikeouts against one walk, with 47 of his 79 pitches going for strikes.
• Marlins No. 5 prospect Dillon Peters proved more than up for the challenge of making the first start in the history of the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, as the left-hander tossed five innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and striking out seven. Peters, 24, was excellent this spring in big league camp, pitching to a 2.00 ERA with four hits allowed in nine innings spanning four appearances (one start).
• Mariners No. 5 prospectAndrew Moore carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning as Double-A Arkansas fell to Corpus Christi, 2-1. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit over six strong innings, issuing two walks and striking out seven while throwing 58 of his 93 pitches for strikes.
• Red Sox No. 8 prospect Travis Lakins struck out nine hitters in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits in Class A Advanced Salem's season opener versus Down East. Lakins, 22, ultimately received a no-decision after the Red Sox bullpen allowed seven earned runs to lose 7-6.
• Cardinals No. 8 prospect Jack Flaherty picked up the win in his Double-A debut, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless frames to lead Springfield past Frisco, 9-2. The Cardinals' first-round Draft pick in 2014, Flaherty, 21, scattered three hits while walking one and fanning six.
• Making his organizational debut after coming over from the Mariners in an offseason trade, Braves No. 10 prospectLuiz Gohara tossed five dominant innings in a no-decision, scattering four hits while striking out seven. The 20-year-old, 6-foot-5 left-hander did not issue a walk and found the zone with 51 of his 75 pitches.
• In a game that was called after eight innings due to snow, Indians No. 11 prospect Yu-Cheng Chang recorded five RBIs behind a three-run home run and a double as Double-A Akron fell to Bowie, 13-8. Cedric Mullins (Orioles' No. 19) hit a leadoff homer for Bowie en route to a 4-for-5 night at the plate that included two runs scored and two RBIs.
• Rockies No. 13 prospect Forrest Wall paced Class A Advanced Lancaster in an Opening Day rout of Visalia, going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double while driving in four runs. After appearing at second base exclusively during his first three professional seasons, Wall, 21, made his first career start in center field on Thursday.
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.