Red Sox Calling Up Yoan Moncada To Play Third Base

Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World second baseman Yoan Moncada in the field against the USA team during 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 second baseman Yoan Moncada in the field against the USA team during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yoan Moncada era starts now. The Boston Red Sox will bring up the Cuban phenom to see what they have in their top prospect & possibly add some offense.

Many baseball experts had their eyes on Moncada back when he was just 17, playing for Elefantes de Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series in 2012. However, even after playing 81 games in the United States, for the Class-A Greenville Drive in 2015, some of those same experts felt that others in the Red Sox minor league system were better assets.

Even Boston felt that Moncada was just not ready, seventh months ago, when Scott Lauber of ESPN, working for The Boston Herald at the time, reported that Moncada “wasn’t invited to big-league camp for spring training and is expected to open the season at Single-A Salem, three levels away from the majors. As much as it wouldn’t be unprecedented for him to play at Fenway Park this season, the notion is equally far-fetched.” However, to his credit, Lauber added, “But if he’s as good as the Red Sox think he is, he won’t have to wait long.”

I happened to agree with Lauber’s astute assessment at the time: anyone “expecting the Red Sox to let a talented asset sit in the majors for years, after all of the salary and international payments they have made for Moncada to make the move from his native country, is just as ridiculous” as thinking that he would instantly start for Boston’s most historic franchise. However, in order to break through, the Red Sox needed to change Moncada’s way of thinking about his future. He was set to be a second baseman, even though beloved veteran Dustin Pedroia has been the constant leader at second for a decade. With Pedroia hitting .323 and a stud on defense, any change to his situation would have been the most ridiculous move of all.

Time has proven Moncada supporters to be right, though. At the tender age of 21, the native of Abreus, Cuba will set foot in Fenway Park this September as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The team has lacked serious power on offense from anyone manning third base, whether it be the disappointing Pablo Sandoval, the roller coaster known as Travis Shaw, or the aging veteran Aaron Hill. The move for Moncada may just be what the Red Sox need to push for the playoffs, if Moncada can get on the same page, as Andrew Benintendi, another top prospect, did in left field, recently.

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that Moncada “will be called up on Friday and whose role could run the gamut, from pinch runner to third baseman.” Cafardo also added Red Sox manager John Farrell‘s comments about the situation of changing Moncada’s position to third base:

"“He has shown good range […] He’s got a well-above-average arm. Where there can be ongoing work and continued development is pretty much the same as when he was at second base, and that’s the ball straight at him. That’s more just pure technique and fundamental positioning of hands and feet. But as far as range to his glove side, moving over to third base, that has not been seemingly that big of a challenge for him.”"

At 6’2″, the 205-pounder is still growing into his body, but he’s already looking like his potential suggests. This was Moncada six months ago, and he’s only gotten stronger:

I’m not suggesting that the Red Sox should call up players who can sell jeans, a la Moneyball. The fact remains that he’s only 21 and already looks better than most MLB players look in their prime. In Double-A Portland, Moncada’s hit a slash line of .277/.379/.531, with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs in just 45 games. Imagine what he could do if he soaked up as much knowledge as he could from Pedroia or even David Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox franchise?

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Considering that this is Big Papi’s final season, and the minor leagues coming to a close for the season soon, what would be the point of Moncada staying away when he could learn from the legend himself? The potential is there. The athleticism is there. The man-child just needs a teacher, with a keen eye, to harness that wild, raw talent and show him the ways of a future Hall-of-Famer at the plate. Moncada’s youth and strength with Pedroia’s or Ortiz’s ability to be patient in the batter’s box could be absolutely lethal for opposing MLB pitchers. And, since the Red Sox could use some offensive pop from the third base position, Boston may finally have their answer to the problem at the hot spot on the diamond.