Surely, he would have been the first overall pick in last year’s MLB draft — had he been eligible.
And that is not the only reason to buy into Moncadamania. Baseball American gave Red Sox fans even more reason to believe the hype when it comes to 20-year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada. They released their annual top 100 prospect list last night. And Moncada was tabbed the 3rd best prospect in the game by the magazine.
Last year the Red Sox received a considerable amount of heat for signing Moncada. They gave him a $31.5 signing bonus — and that was taxed at a 100 percent rate. So in reality, they dumped $63 million a 19-year-old from Cuba that they really had not seen play much before. Now that’s a big risk. It still is a big risk — especially for someone who has played strictly second base in his pro career — and struggled defensively.
Moncada is very young and the list of seasons to like his potential is virtually endless. He was a little slow to start last season with the low-A Greenville Drive. But as the year progressed, he heated up, posting a .915 OPS in 56 second half games last year. He also stole 45 bases on 48 attempts in that time frame.
To put it this way, he did pretty good. See for yourself.
The Red Sox are not going to pull a Craig Hansen here. They plan on letting Moncada take his time to develop as a prospect and a big part of that has to do with the fact that he is much more advanced at the plate than he is in the field. Even if he hits well, they want to see him make progress in the field.
Certainly, he might be ready to take on a higher level, but SoxProspects.com projects him to start this season in high-A Salem.
Fellow Red Sox prospects Andrew Benintendi (15), Rafael Devers (18), Anderson Espinoza (19) and Michael Kopech (89) also cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list.