Knights' Moncada continues to turn corner

Top-ranked prospect homers in four-hit, four-RBI performance

Yoan Moncada is tied for fourth in the International League with a .387 on-base percentage. (Chris Robertson/MiLB.com)

By Gerard Gilberto / MiLB.com | June 17, 2017 1:04 AM ET

While Yoan Moncada was mired in a recent slump, Triple-A Charlotte hitting coach Andy Tomberlin noticed that MLB.com's top-ranked prospect wasn't having trouble squaring the ball up but was simply hitting into hard luck.

"It's hard whenever a guy is hitting a ball on the nose and it goes right at a fielder. What do you tell him?" Tomberlin said before jokingly revealing his last-ditch solution. "Maybe he just needs to hold his mouth different. That's what I tell him. It's funny, but it's just one of those things where you don't have the answer for it."


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Moncada seemed to make the necessary adjustment on Friday, going 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs as the Knights thumped Indianapolis, 12-4, at BB&T Ballpark. The top White Sox prospect also walked twice and scored a pair of runs.

"He's mature enough to understand that he did hit it hard and he's doing things right," Tomberlin said. "That's just one of those things that's he's learning, and he's been working hard to get himself back on to staying within himself."

Video: Charlotte's Moncada rips three-run shot

It was the first time the Cuba native reached base six times in a game and it was his second four-hit performance this season. Moncada had four singles in his second game with the White Sox organization on April 7 against Norfolk.

His outburst on Friday night gives him six hits in 12 at-bats over the past three games following a 1-for-19 funk that spanned six contests. Moncada is batting .271/.372/.424 with seven homers, 19 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 55 games.

"He's just had a time where he was trying to do more and I think he just had to stay within himself," Tomberlin said. "That's a learning curve about it all because he's going to have to make adjustments throughout his career, even when he gets to the Major Leagues."

Moncada walked on four pitches and was caught stealing in the first inning, then ripped a first-pitch single in the second. He reached on another walk in the fourth and launched a three-run shot in the fifth for his eighth homer of the season.

"He's a special talent. I can't compare anyone that I've seen in my whole coaching career or even my career, period," Tomberlin said before putting Moncada in the same company as Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. "The power and just an intimidating figure at the plate, [Moncada] stands alone because he has so many tools. It's just amazing to see the talent that he has and to see that he has the capabilities to make an adjustment quickly."

Video: Charlotte's Moncada makes a nice play

The 22-year-old showed off one of those tools in the second when he made a backhanded grab and a jump throw on a ground ball to get Gift Ngoepe at first.

Moncada singled in the seventh against reliever Brett McKinney and scored on Nicky Delmonico's homer before adding another base hit in the eighth.

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"A guy with his abilities, they're going to test all of those avenues, where he's disciplined enough to lay off certain pitches and if he's going to be patient enough to not be able to have a pitch to hit that night or whatever it is," Tomberlin said.

Lucas Giolito, MLB.com's No. 30 overall prospect, started for the Knights and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. Danny Hayes homered, doubled drove in two runs and scored twice for Charlotte.

Chris Bostick, the Pirates' No. 29 prospect, doubled, singled and scored twice for Indianapolis.

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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