Moncada fuels Futures Game comeback

Red Sox prospect homers, earns MVP honor; Cubs' Jimenez dazzles

Yoan Moncada is batting .312/.415/.532 with 42 extra-base hits across two levels this season. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | July 11, 2016 12:05 AM

SAN DIEGO -- All the talent in the World was on display Sunday at the All-Star Futures Game, even if it didn't break through until late.

Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada smashed a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning as the World team roared to an 11-3 drubbing of the U.S. at Petco Park.

Moncada, who also singled and stole a base, earned MVP honors.

"I'm so happy to be playing here and it is an honor to be playing in the Futures Game," he said through a translator. "Being in this setting, all I was going to do is continue to play hard."

His bat is on the way to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"It's really emotional. I feel really excited -- really happy that they want my bat," he said.

Playing second base, MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect showed range and made a quick throw to retire Double-A Portland teammate Andrew Benintendi.

"It was just my normal routine where I'm accustomed to just picking up the ball and throwing it," Moncada said, though he admitted that throwing out Benintendi was a particularly fun moment. "Yes, because I know that he was about to say something about it."

Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs' No. 10 prospect, delivered an RBI double in the sixth inning and cracked a monster three-run homer in a seven-run ninth.

"I was looking for a slider first pitch [from Nate Smith], because he's got a very good secondary pitch," Jimenez said of his double off the Angels' third-ranked prospect. "[On the home run], I was just looking for something up, and I swung and it went out of the ballpark."

The 19-year-old outfielder, who plays for Class A South Bend, also dazzled with a spectacular grab in the seventh, going halfway over the railing in foul ground in right field to retire Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens.

"When I saw the ball go to right field, I just tried to make the catch," Jimenez said. "When I hit the wall, I just tried to field safely with the glove because [I didn't want] the ball to drop."

Manny Margot, the Padres' top prospect, made a fantastic catch of his own in center field, robbing Cardinals prospect Carson Kelly of a potential homer in the sixth.

"I think mine [was better than Jimenez's]," Margot joked in English.

"I heard the crack of the bat, and off the bat, I thought it might be a little bit deeper than what it ended up being," he added through a translator. "Going after it, you just have to give it your all, and I was trying to make the catch.

Margot also gave Padres fans something to cheer about by scoring twice and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.

No. 9 Dodgers prospect Jharel Cotton wound up with the win after retiring the only batter he faced in the seventh. Starter and top Cardinals prospect Alex Reyes hit 100 mph in the top of the first and struck out four over 1 2/3 scoreless frames.

For Team USA, Astros' top prospect Alex Bregman went 3-for-5 and missed the cycle by a homer, popping out in the seventh and striking out in the ninth.

"Everybody in the dugout was wanting me to swing for it, and I did. And I didn't get it," said Bregman, MLB.com's No. 18 overall prospect. "Playing at Petco, great environment, great fans. It had a feel to it like this was the closest thing to the big leagues."

Although he was hitless in two at-bats, second-ranked Rockies prospect David Dahl came up big on defense, cutting down Marlins prospect Josh Naylor at the plate to end the World team's two-run sixth.

"I was real excited. It was a big moment in the game," Dahl said. "I didn't want him to score and tie it up, so I just tried to make a good throw, and Carson [Kelly] made a really good pick at the plate. It was a great moment."

Top White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer stood out on the mound for the U.S., fanning the first two batters he faced in a 1-2-3 seventh. Along with starter and No. 7 Astros prospect Joe Musgrove, he was one of two American pitchers to turn in a perfect frame. Fourth-ranked Reds prospect Amir Garrett tossed two scoreless innings, working around a pair of walks.

"Everybody's different. Everybody has certain strengths you can build off of," Fulmer said. "Being able to pick their brains and spend time with them, you continuously learn that."

After a rocky start to his first full season, the 22-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs over 16 innings in his last two starts for Double-A Birmingham.

"I felt great," he said. "I'm just getting ahead. I felt like I fell behind a lot of guys and I paid for it. I'm just coming out with a strike-one mentality and just pounding the strike zone. [At the Futures Game], it was the same mentality -- you have to continue to have that with you."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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