What Can White Sox Expect From Yoan Moncada in 2017?
White Sox top prospect, number two overall most likely to start season in minors. What can fans expect from young Cuban?
Perhaps the most talked about player in all of baseball this offseason has been 21 year old super-prospect Yoan Moncada. Moncada was the headline player in the deal that sent former Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. Moncada has been praised regionally for his five tool skill set, but how much of that skill set will be shown at the big league level in 2017?
When you trade one of the five best pitchers in the game, you expect a haul that’s led by a can’t miss player. That player is Moncada. Moncada defected from Cuba in 2014 after playing for Cienfuegos for two seasons (one of those seasons with White Sox All-Star Jose Abreu).
He hit well with Cienfuegos posting a .277/.388/.380 slash line with four home runs and 21 stolen bases. Even back when he was just a teenager, Moncada was able to turn heads up international scouts which led him to America and most notably the Boston Red Sox.
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Potentially the last significant move former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherrington ever made was signing Moncada back in February of 2015. He signed for a whopping $31.5 million signing bonus, which shattered records for the highest signing bonus for an international player in MLB history. Moncada’s deal was eventually finalized at six years for $63 million dollars.
Fast forward to the start of 2016 and Moncada was ranked number one for all prospects in baseball according to MLB.com. He impressed scouts and coaches down at rookie ball and Single A throughout 2015 and the Red Sox felt like they had something special in Moncada. With team captain and seasoned veteran Dustin Pedroia getting up in years, the Red Sox anticipated Moncada to be MLB ready by the time Pedroia either retired or did not resign with club. Clearly, that moment never came to fruition.
Now with Moncada on a young and Hispanic based White Sox team the transition seems to be settling in for the Spanish speaking Cuban. The proverbial word around White Sox camp is that Moncada will start his season at Triple A Charlotte. With that in mind, what can the 6’2 205 pound Moncada do on the field? The answer is just about everything.
Moncada, like stated previously, is without a doubt a five tool player. The physical build of Moncada for 6’2 isn’t quite astonishing. He has a strict workout and diet regime that he sticks too in order to put out better performance. His switch hitting ability at the plate is an automatic plus for any lineup. Moncada has the same leveled swing from each side of the plate. He can use the entire field from both sides of the plate and he can use it for power as well.
He is also capable of playing any infield position besides first base and catcher but it has been made public that Moncada will be the starting second base man of the future. Surprisingly, in Moncada’s opinion, he has stated that his speed is his best attribute. He is already drawing early comparisons to Mike Trout and former Red Sox teammate Mookie Betts as an all around superstar. The only question remaining is, can he translate his raw talent into MLB results?
In five spring training games so far for Moncada, he has recorded three hits to go along with seven strikeouts and four walks. If anything, White Sox fans will weep heavily at this, but the odds of seeing Moncada before the 40 man roster change in September is slim to none. With his lack of contact and lack of experience in the minors, the White Sox are taking their time with Moncada to make sure they bring him up when they feel he’s ready. Something the Sox front office has rarely done in recent years with their prospects.
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Bottom line, Moncada has all the potential in the world to be a superstar. He has the looks and plays the part perfectly; especially for a rebuilding team like the White Sox. If he can perform well at Triple A early on, expect trades to be made at the MLB level to make room for Moncada.
Until then, we all anxiously wait for the Cuban enigma known as Yoan Moncada.