Boston shattered the previous record for an international amateur player when they signed Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 signing bonus in 2015. He barely played for the Red Sox but the Moncada signing would lead to a franchise-altering move.
Moncada was the best prospect in baseball in 2016 when he made his debut with the Red Sox. He appeared in only eight games, struggling mightily to the tune of a .211 average with 12 strikeouts in 19 at-bats. The profile of a five-tool talent was clearly recognizable but the holes in his swing proved he wasn’t ready to contribute to a championship team yet.
Boston was in win-now mode, so they used Moncada as the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal that acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Sale gave the Red Sox a legitimate Cy Young contender to anchor their rotation and helped deliver a World Series title in 2018.
Moncada continued to have some growing pains in his early years in Chicago, struggling to keep his average above .230 and leading the majors in strikeouts in 2018.
Last year was the breakout the White Sox were waiting for when they surrendered their ace to get Moncada. He hit .315 with a .915 OPS, 25 home runs and 79 RBI. The 24-year old is showing signs of becoming the star he was expected to be when he signed with the Red Sox.