BEST PLAYER: A year ago, second baseman Yoan Moncada needed to catch his breath. In his first pro campaign after signing for a record-setting $31.5 million out of Cuba, he hit just .200/.287/.289 at low Class A Greenville prior to the South Atlantic League all-star break.
“When I had that all-star break, I took a little mental break from baseball," Moncada said through a translator. “It feels like that helped me come back, once I walked away and didn't think about baseball and was able to return, I was able to come back. It feels like that was very beneficial."
Indeed it was. Over the next calendar year, Moncada hit .309/.421/.498 with 11 homers and 81 steals (in 91 attempts) over 117 games. That included a .307/.427/.496 batting line with four homers, 36 steals and 25 doubles at high Class A Salem in the first half of 2016 prior to a promotion to Double-A Portland.
“For a 21-year-old kid who's in just his second season in the States, the ability has been unbelievable to watch his day-in and day-out adjustments," Salem manager Joe Oliver said.