Yoan Moncada joins fellow countryman Rusney Castillo in Boston as the Red Sox won the sweepstakes for Cuba’s latest sensation.
Moncada is reported to have signed for over $30 million, with the total investment reaching $63 million after taxes. The 19-year-old infielder played two seasons in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional. Over the two years he batted .277 with an on-base percentage of .388 and a .768 OPS. Widely considered a top prospect, Boston edged out several other teams including arch-rival New York Yankees.
After having gone from worst to first the season before, the Red Sox found themselves back in the cellar of the AL East in 2014. Eager to find themselves back on top, Boston was a headliner of an exciting, often hectic off-season. Moncada is joined by free agent signees Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Justin Masterson. Among others, starters Wade Miley and Rick Porcello were acquired via trade to help fill additional roster gaps.
It’ll be interesting to see if Boston’s acquisitions can bring them to their second consecutive worst-to-first performance. Particularly interesting is Moncada. A second basemen by trade, it’s likely Moncada will make a switch. Dustin Pedroia has that spot locked up until he succumbs to retirement. Youngster Xander Bogaerts is touted as the shortstop of the future, and newcomer Sandoval will man the hot corner. The jammed infield has led to talks of Moncada becoming an outfielder. But with Ramirez, Castillo, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Brock Holt and Daniel Nava still around space is limited.
All signs point to a minor league stint to begin Moncada’s career, the length of which to be determined. Will he blast onto the seen like Jose Abreu did last year? Unlikely. With two years of professional ball under his belt, does he need to prove himself in the minors? To an extent. It’s hard to imagine Boston keeping their shiny new toy bouncing around from Portland to Pawtucket. To prevent that they’ll need to find a place to put him.
As the hype fades and the results emerge more will be clear. For now, we wait.