Red Sox: Yoan Moncada could get a September call up

Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World infielder Yoan Moncada before the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World infielder Yoan Moncada before the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Red Sox fans are eager to see Yoan Moncada’s major league debut and the top prospect in the organization could be a valuable asset off the bench.

September is quietly sneaking up on us, which means that major league rosters are about to expand. Starting next month, the typical 25-man roster limit will increase to allow anyone on the 40-man roster to be added to the big league team.

The Boston Red Sox are likely to bolster their roster in the coming weeks with an infusion of prospects and veteran fringe players to provide the safety net of some additional depth, but the one player fans are most looking forward to seeing is top prospect Yoan Moncada.

Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by, Moncada has as bright of a future as anyone in the organization and Red Sox fans are eager for that future to begin now. The 21-year old is batting .286 with a .941 OPS and 11 home runs in 43 games for the Portland Sea Dogs. After seeing fellow prospect Andrew Benintendi make the successful jump from Double-A to the big leagues (at least prior to the knee injury that has sidelined him indefinitely), we naturally want to see Moncada make the leap as well.

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Technically, Moncada isn’t on the 40-man roster yet, making him ineligible for a call up. However, the Red Sox roster currently only includes 39 players, so it would be easy enough to add him to the list without effecting anyone else on the roster if they decide to go in that direction.

While September call ups can begin as early as this Thursday, Dave Dombrowski is preaching patience with the organization’s prized prospect. Speaking to WEEI during the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, the Red Sox president of baseball operations pumped the breaks on the expectations of Moncada’s major league debut.

"“First of all, if you’re going to bring a guy like that up, you want to make sure he has a chance to play,” explained Dombrowski. “It doesn’t do you much good if you’re going to bring him up and he just sits and doesn’t play. That doesn’t do you much good. For example, when [Andrew] Benintendi came up he played. We put him right out there in left field. That’s one thing with Moncada.”"

We certainly don’t want Moncada to waste valuable development time by sitting on the bench, so don’t expect to see him called up right away without an everyday opportunity available. The red-hot Dustin Pedroia has a handle on Moncada’s natural position at second base, and while he’s been learning to play third base he still needs more time at the hot corner before he can be trusted to cover the position at the big league level.

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However, with the minor league season ending on September 5 and the team’s Double and Triple-A affiliates already eliminated from postseason contention, time is running out for Moncada to see playing time in the minors this season. If he’s not seeing live game action once the minor league schedule ends anyway, why not give him a taste of the big leagues? Even if he spends most of it on the bench, it’s a better experience than not playing at all.

We have to be cautious of expecting too much from Moncada if he does get called up. We can’t assume he’ll light it up out of the gate like Benintendi, who is a bit older and has the experience of playing at a high level in college.

Even if he isn’t quite ready to contribute much with his bat, Moncada can still be a useful asset off the bench with his speed. The infielder has stolen 44 bases in 56 attempts across two minor league levels this season. Moncada may not always have the green light to steal, but he could still be useful as a pinch-runner. Giving David Ortiz‘s tired legs a rest by replacing him on the base paths late in games would help preserve the 40-year old down the stretch.

Past championship seasons have seen the Red Sox utilize a speedster on the bench to serve as a pinch-runner. We all remember the impact that Dave Roberts had in 2004, when he helped turn the tide of a historic comeback in the ALCS against the New York Yankees. Quintin Berry served in that capacity to a lesser extent in 2013, swiping three bases during Boston’s postseason run to the title. If the Red Sox are going to challenge for another World Series this year, perhaps they could use a bench player with speed to fill that role. Moncada could be that guy.

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Don’t expect Moncada to join the Red Sox roster as soon as September begins, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he made an appearance before the season ends. If he manages to make a good first impression, perhaps his contributions to this team will carry over to October.