Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada has had a strong start to the World Baseball Classic, and he played a key role in Cuba’s win that propelled them into the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
Moncada, taking advantage of Cuba’s choice to allow current MLB players to represent it during the tournament, has been one of the team’s biggest stars, batting .353 with five RBI’s in four group-play games.
He was in his best form in a weekend victory over Chinese Taipei, cracking a home run and collecting a double in a 7-1 triumph.
The win gave Cuba a 2-2 record in pool play, and the margin of victory also helped the team as they advanced to the quarterfinal, along with Italy.
In fact, all five teams in the pool posted 2-2 records, and Cuba and Italy advanced thanks to a tiebreaker that rewarded the teams with the fewest runs allowed per defensive outs recorded.
Cuba earned the top spot in Pool A, meaning that they will face the runner-up in Pool B in the quarterfinal in Tokyo. As things stand, Australia is in that spot with one game to go.
Italy meanwhile will face Japan in the other quarterfinal at the Tokyo Dome. The winners of those two games will advance to the semifinals in Miami.
Moncada was joined in the hit parade by White Sox teammate Luis Robert, who batted .263 with three RBI’s for Cuba in the pool play round.