Steven Moya had a strong showing this spring in Tigers camp, hitting .367 and slugging four home runs in 30 at-bats, but it wasn't enough for him to earn a spot on the club's Opening Day roster. Instead, the Tigers' No. 10 prospect opened the season at Triple-A Toledo for
Steven Moya had a strong showing this spring in Tigers camp, hitting .367 and slugging four home runs in 30 at-bats, but it wasn't enough for him to earn a spot on the club's Opening Day roster. Instead, the Tigers' No. 10 prospect opened the season at Triple-A Toledo for a second straight year.
Picking up where he left off during Spring Training, Moya went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs in the Mud Hens' season opener, a 10-2 win over Louisville. He picked up two of those hits in the bottom of the second inning, when Toledo scored eight runs and sent 11 hitters to the plate. The 24-year-old outfielder led off the frame with single to right field in his first at-bat, and then came around to score on catcher Bobby Wilson's two-out double.
The Mud Hens pushed across three more runs to bring Moya to the plate for a second time and he delivered with a three-run homer to right center. Moya blasted his second long ball of the game in the fourth inning, when he drove a pitch from Steve Johnson over the left field wall for a two run home run.
MILB Video - Title: Moya knocks his second homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=578191083
Moya's 35 home runs in 2014 was the fourth-most in the Minors, and he followed it up with 23 more last season in his first Triple-A campaign. However, with that power comes a lot of swing-and-misses and strikeouts, and he's never been one to make consistent contact or get on base. So even though Moya has the potential to hit 30-plus homers in a given year, he's unlikely to serve as an everyday player in the big leagues without making gains in those areas.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday
• Rangers No. 21 prospect Travis Demeritte also hit a pair of home runs on Minor League Opening Day en route to finishing 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs in Class A Advanced High Desert's win over Inland Empire. After pacing the South Atlantic League with 25 home runs in his 2014 full-season debut, Demeritte appeared in only 53 games last season after he received an 80-game suspension in early June after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
• Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada (No. 6 overall) reached base four times out of the leadoff spot for Class A Advanced Salem, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two walks, a stolen base and an RBI, and Andrew Benintendi (No. 24 overall) went 4-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBIs in a 13-4 win over Carolina. Benintendi's four hits were a career high for him as a pro.
• A pair of Rockies prospects shined in their Double-A debuts as Hartford edged Richmond, 5-4. No. 4 prospectRyan McMahon (No. 47 overall) was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double, run scored and a walk, while left-hander Kyle Freeland (No. 8) threw five innings of one-run ball to pick up the win.
• Mets No. 3 prospect Amed Rosario (No. 78 overall) isn't known for his power, having hit just five home runs in 238 games headed into the season. But the 20-year-old shortstop hit one out in Class A Advanced St. Lucie's season opener on Thursday, connecting on a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. He finished the game with three hits in five at-bats and picked up his first stolen base of the season.
• Rangers No. 16 prospect Andy Ibanez's impressive pro debut highlighted exactly why the Rangers signed him for $1.6 million last July -- he can flat-out hit. The 23-year-old second baseman paced Class Hickory to a 5-1 win over Kannapolis on Opening Day, going 4-for-5 with a triple, four RBIs and a stolen base.
• Diamondbacks No. 2 prospect Archie Bradley (No. 71 overall) looked like his old self in Triple-A Reno's 8-0 rout of El Paso, striking out seven batters in six scoreless innings. Shortstop Jack Reinheimer (No. 14) paced the Aces at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.
• Mariners No. 2 prospect Edwin Diaz was nothing short of dominant in his Opening Day start for Double-A Jackson, as he allowed just two hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings in a 6-0 win against Montgomery.
MILB Video - Title: Diaz fans 9th hitter - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=578289683
• Astros No. 8 prospect Joe Musgrove was nearly perfect for Double-A Corpus Christi as he yielded just one hit in five scoreless innings, striking out four, in a 2-0 win over Tulsa. Known for his excellent command, the 23-year-old righty threw 43 of his 54 pitches for strikes and generated eight groundball outs.
• Indians No. 15 prospectAdam Plutko carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning as Double-A Akron defeated Bowie, 5-2. The right-hander ultimately allowed one unearned runs on two hits in the contest, walking two and striking out eight.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.