Boston Red Sox fans got a brief taste of top prospect Yoan Moncada last night, but are still awaiting his first start. Will that come tonight?
The moment that Boston Red Sox fans have eagerly anticipated since learning that the top prospect in baseball was being promoted to the big leagues has finally arrived. Yoan Moncada is in the starting lineup for the first time in his major league career.
We got a brief glimpse of Moncada during Friday night’s 16-2 shellacking of the Oakland Athletics when he took over at third base to begin the bottom of the 7th inning with the Red Sox leading by double-digits.
Moncada walked and struck out in his only two plate appearances, but did come around to score the first run of his career. The first of many milestones to come for the highly touted prospect.
He also made a fine defensive play going to his right on a chopper down the third base line, then fired a rocket to Travis Shaw over at first to record the out. Moncada’s time at third base was limited in his minor league career, but he proved up for the challenged in his first test.
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Shaw remained in the game after Moncada came in, sliding over to first base to give Hanley Ramirez the rest of the night off. The expectation is that the bulk of Moncada’s playing time will come at Shaw’s expense, as the Red Sox intend to let the 21-year old be their primary third baseman against right-handed starters down the stretch.
Clearly Shaw could feel the young phenom breathing down his neck, to which he responded with a 3-for-6 performance that included a homer and a pair of doubles. He matched a career-high with five RBI to lead the offensive onslaught in Oakland.
Many were surprised to find that Moncada’s name wasn’t in the lineup Friday after he joined the team as part of the first wave of September call-ups. There is rationale behind the decision to give a prized prospect a day to acclimate to their new environment prior to making their debut. The Red Sox did the same with Andrew Benintendi earlier this season and with Xander Bogaerts in 2013.
Manager John Farrell intended to give Moncada a day to settle into the big league experience, but once the game got out of hand he took the opportunity to let Moncada get his feet wet in a low-pressure situation.
Now that he’s been eased into his debut, the next step is putting him in the starting lineup. It’s time to take the kid gloves off and hand him a third baseman’s glove. Red Sox fans have long anticipated a bright future for baseball’s top prospect and that future begins now.