The Red Sox are loaded with young talent throughout their organization, but the player who excites me the most is possibly Yoan Moncada, the Cuban infielder with enormous potential. A 21-year old phenom, Moncada has now been promoted to Double-A Portland, and that should really enthuse Red Sox Nation, which is in for a treat when the youngster finally arrives at Fenway Park.
In sixty-one games with the Class-A+ Salem Red Sox this season, Moncada hit .307 with 4 home runs, 34 RBI and 25 doubles. His on-base percentage was .427, and he stole 36 bases in 44 attempts. That is a lethal combination that can really help a team win, and excite the fans simultaneously.
Moncada has also taken a big step forward since 2015. Last year, he hit .278 with 8 homers and 49 steals for the Class-A Greenville Drive. After proving himself at the lowest levels of minor league ball, the hulking specimen will now face his first real challenge, adjusting to what many people regard as the most talented tier below the Majors. While Triple-A is often home to diminished veterans, Double-A is typically loaded with elite prospects, which means more time is required there than at any other stage of the development process.
It’s important that the Red Sox give Yoan Moncada time to adjust at that level, where he’ll learn a lot about the game and American culture. The process of acclimating to the professional game can be a challenge for Cuban players. Boston has learned that with Rusney Castillo, who passed through waivers this week, just two unsatisfying years after agreeing a seven-year, $72.5 million contract. Yet with Dustin Pedroia marshaling second base at the big league level, Moncada has time to smooth off some of the rough edges in his game, particularly defensively, before arriving in Boston.
When Will Yoan Moncada Arrive?
He should be ready to join the big league club by the end of next season, perhaps as a September call-up, so there’s room to breathe here. A lot can still go wrong, as the poor performance of Cubans such as Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler illustrates, but the potential upside is enormous. If he isn’t rushed, Yoan Moncada can be the cornerstone around which the Red Sox are built for the next decade.
Right now, MLB.com ranks him as the fifth-best prospect in baseball, and the third-best position player. The speed is electric, while the swing is fluid from both sides of the plate. He has a tremendous arm, and his overall defense should improve with more preps. Red Sox execs have spoken about potentially getting Moncada to play multiple positions to aid his versatility, but they want him to master second base before worrying about that.
The Red Sox made a huge commitment when they signed Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 million bonus, shattering the previous record. Ownership went the extra mile for Red Sox Nation, beating the Yankees, Dodgers and Padres to the signature of a player capable of transforming a franchise. That willingness to spend big to accrue elite prospects should be lauded, as the Sox try to win now and in the future. Therefore, I expect Moncada to be untouchable as Dave Dombrowski attempts to trade for pitching, except for the most elite of returns, namely Jose Fernandez.
The kid is on a path to superstardom, and it’s going to be fun to watch. All he needs is a little nurturing, before an elite player will emerge. I, for one, cannot wait to see him pull on a Red Sox uniform, as the pipeline of young talent continues to overflow.