On March 12th, 2015, the Boston Red Sox had extended a contract that featured the largest international signing bonus in the history of Major League Baseball. The club extended a minor league contract to 19-year old Yoan Moncada.
Moncada left Cuba with the permission of the Cuban government in June of 2014 to try and pursue his baseball career in the United States. Moncada hadn’t played professional baseball since 2012, when he played for the Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series.
In his two years with the team, the Cuban phenom posted a slash line of .277/.388/.380, with four home runs and twenty-one stolen bases, all marks that are more than exceptional from such a young star. After signing the deal that made Moncada a multi-millionaire, he was ranked as the Red Sox’ top prospect throughout their whole farm system.
Said to be the best Cuban prospect since Cubs slugger Jorge Soler came in 2011, Moncada at only 19 years of age has a very strong build. Standing at exactly 6 feet, the 215 pounds, the switch-hitter shows broad shoulders, muscular upper body and solid lower half, just the look of Moncada shows that he is definitely a good athlete.
With Dustin Pedroia manning second base, Moncada’s primary position, in Fenway Park through the 2021 season, it is unlikely that Moncada will see time at the position in the majors. Throughout his career, Moncada has also played short-stop and third base.
It seems likely that the Red Sox could move Moncada’s position from second base once he gets more comfortable with American baseball. But where could he be moved? Well, we all have seen how Mookie Betts‘ transition from a second baseman into a center fielder has gone so far, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he were moved into either right field or left field.
I would also throw in first base in places the Red Sox can move Moncada, but it seems like they would be under using his athleticism by putting him there.
Baseball America ranks Moncada as the ninth overall prospect in all of Major League baseball, but the Red Sox clearly see him as more than that after giving him the largest signing bonus ever to an amerature player in the history of the sport at $31.5 million, along with the 100% taxes for going over their bonus pool, the Red Sox have invested a total of $63 million in a 19 year old prospect.
MLB Pipline ranks Moncada’s skills on the 50-80 scale, a scale that scouts use to measure a players’ skills are as follows–hitting 60, his power 60, his running a 65, his arm 60, and his fielding 50, giving him an overall mark of 65.
Moncada had been kept back to work in extended spring training to work with instructors and get more comfortable. Today, at 7:05, Moncada will make his debut with Single A Greenville playing second base. With high expectations, Moncada will be watched by many to see if his skills are what they have been reported to be.