Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada may sit out Winter League


The Boston Red Sox are considering holding top prospect Yoan Moncada out of the Puerto Rican Winter League, sources revealed to’s Rob Bradford.

The infielder has been ailing from a bruised right hand that came as the result of being hit by a pitch during the Red Sox’ Fall Instructional League. Moncada was scheduled to play for Caguas this winter in Puerto Rico, the team managed by former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora. The Puerto Rican Winter League runs from Oct. 30 through Jan. 4, leaving Moncada with little time left to be cleared to play. If there are any doubts about the condition of his hand, the Red Sox are likely to hold him back.

Moncada played 81 games at second base for Single-A Greenville in his professional debut, hitting .278 with 8 home runs and 49 steals, which led to him being named the South Atlantic League’s top prospect by Baseball America. rates the 20-year old as not only the top prospect in the Red Sox organization, but the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball.

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The Red Sox signed Moncada out of Cuba last year to a record $31.5 million signing bonus, which actually cost the team $63 million due to being penalized a 100 percent tax for exceeding their international amateur free agent signing pool.

If Moncada does end up playing in winter ball, he’ll join Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, and first baseman Travis Shaw, who is looking to prove his surprise breakout season was no fluke. Even though Moncada may be a couple years away from making it to the big leagues, playing alongside other young players that have already been there would be a valuable experience.

Given how important the prized prospect is to the organization, the Red Sox are wise to be cautious with Moncada. Even if he is able to play through the discomfort, if his hand is bothering him then it could sap his production at the plate. It doesn’t do anyone any good to send Moncada out there to fail. Not only would they be risking a setback that could impede his availability for the start of spring training, but if he struggles while playing hurt it could discourage the young infielder and shake his confidence.

There are also those that suggest that new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may be willing to “blow up the farm system” to acquire elite talent this winter. While the organization has never hinted that Moncada would ever be available, he would certainly be at the top of a lot of team’s wish lists. The Red Sox need to ensure that Moncada is healthy and stays that way in order to maximize his value as a potential trade chip, so that could also be a factor in any decision to keep him from playing in the Winter League.

While Red Sox fans are anxious to see more of Moncada, we may need to wait until spring training to see it happen.

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