Judging by the way that Boston Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada looks, the team might start thinking about him playing with the big club sooner than later.
In Fort Myers, Florida, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe tweeted this:
Based on Moncada’s impressive physique, Sam Benson Smith of Boston.com said, “That guy’s a second baseman?” Possibly hard to believe for a number of reasons.
With multiple articles being written about him, including BoSox Injection, many baseball experts are debating whether the Red Sox can wait for Moncada to take over second base.
MLB.com has him ranked seventh overall on their Top 100 Prospects list. Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Corey Seager, seated as the best prospect on the list, is the only second baseman ranked ahead of the Cuban phenom.
Yet, Seager is already 21; Moncada is only 20.
The scouting grades for Moncada from last season are as follows:
- Hitting – 60
- Power – 55
- Speed – 65
- Arm Strength – 60
- Fielding – 50
- Overall – 65
The statistics are based off of a 20-to-80 scale, with 50 being a MLB player average. At 19, Moncada had a slow start to 2015 after making “history before ever stepping on to the field at Fenway Park. In 2011 he earned the largest signing bonus ($31.5 million) ever given to an amateur player when he signed with the Red Sox. Boston also had to pay an additional $31.5 million penalty for exceeding their international bonus pool.” After adjusting to life in the U.S.A., down in Class-A Greenville, Moncada hit .278 as a switch-hitter, .300 in the second half of the season.
Judging by his picture, Moncada must be looking to improve upon his already-above-average power. His slugging percentage was .438 overall, but was .500 after the mid-way point. That was before Moncada packed on the muscle for this spring.
A picture is just a picture, but if Pablo Sandoval‘s picture last spring training was a sign of the incompetence that followed then what is in store for Moncada?
The issue at second base is the fact that Dustin Pedroia, one of the Red Sox leaders for the past decade, is still playing at a solid level and is signed through 2021. Pedroia has another $85 million coming to him, making it very hard to see the team’s owners wanting to pay a player that much money to sit and watch a prospect grow.
Another issue is the fact that all the team has to go on about Moncada’s potential for 2016 is his 2015 numbers in Class-A ball and a picture. Moncada hasn’t even faced Triple-A or Double-A pitchers on a regular basis, let alone MLB pitchers with filthy stuff waiting for him to come to the plate. Until he proves that he can handle those obstacles, a switch to another position in Fenway Park seems very optimistic at best, let alone possibly laughable.
Still, the picture does project positive signs that Moncada’s youth is not keeping him from doing the right things, professionally. He is taking his health seriously, making sure that when he is called up, whenever that will be, Moncada will be ready for the physical challenge.
Besides, who’s going to get in a bench-clearing brawl with a team sporting a guy who looks like that?