When the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale they had a choice of which top prospect to part with – Yoan Moncada or Rafael Devers? They made the right choice.
When the Red Sox dumped two exceptional prospects for Chris Sale was there a choice? The top prospect in the system was Yoan Moncada. He was also the top prospect in baseball. It didn’t end there as Andrew Benintendi was ranked fifth and Rafael Devers ranked sixteenth.
The Red Sox parted with Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects. But in dealing Moncada the Red Sox also dealt a huge cash outlay in the bonus given to the now 23-year-old switch hitter. That money was unrecoverable. Did the White Sox have an interest in either Benintendi or Devers? According to multiple sources, the White Sox wanted Devers or wanted him included among the four prospects they received.
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At this juncture in the careers of Devers and Moncada the Red Sox made either the right choice. They held absolute on retaining the 21-year-old left-handed hitting, Devers. This season Moncada has flashed his power with 10 home runs. And his inability to make contact with an American League second highest 117 K’s. That quickly translates to a 35.5 K%. Devers – a noted free swinger – checks in with a 24.9 K%.
Moncada’s lack of contact is visible in a .221 average (through 6/30) compared to Devers’ .248. Neither has broken the one hundred barrier on wRC+ with Moncada at 88 wRC+ and Devers slightly ahead at 92 wRC+. Devers has also a more pronounced distancing with home runs (14) and RBI (47) compared to Moncada’s 34 RBI. Of course, the Red Sox lineup does offer considerably more in opportunity.
The comparison of the offensive capabilities of both shows an advantage for Devers. Will it continue? Both players have an incredible upside and the potential to be All-Stars in the foreseeable future. Based on the early results Devers has shown more in this beginning stages of MLB development.
Defense is part of the plan unless you are a designated hitter. Neither Moncada nor Devers will be adding trophy space for a Gold Glove. Both lead their positions in errors (minimum 300 innings) with Moncada totaling 13 at second and Devers 16 at third. For metrics worshipers, Devers has a -4.5 UZR/150 and Moncada a -12.2 UZR/150. Devers’ -8 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) is the poorest in the AL. Moncada is at -1 DRS.
What I have seen from Devers is a very sweet swing and an attitude that is positive to the nth degree. Strikeouts, bad plays, and slumps appear on the surface to not turn his life into a funk. I also see DH or first base in his future and do not expect any dramatic defensive improvements. For Moncada, it all comes down to contact. A potential five-tool player, but that potential still needs to be delivered.