It has been just over a year since the Red Sox made the shocking move to sign Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 million signing bonus (It was really $63 million because of the international penalty the Red Sox had to pay). Fast forward, and we can see why the Red Sox shattered the MLB record for a signing bonus for a minor league player.
When Moncada worked out for ~70 scouts in Guatemala, the first thing that stuck out what his physical appearance. Simply put, the dude is shredded. Most teenagers don't have an absolutely massive upper body, and many felt that once he came to the States he would slim down, but he looks as muscular as ever. Don't believe me? Take a look...
On the field, Moncada possesses that swagger and confidence that many timid young players lack. In the batter's box, Moncada is ruthless from both sides of the plate. He has a slight uppercut swing that, coupled with his raw power, makes the ball jump off his bat. While his swing from the left side is a tad more natural, the young Cuban's ability to hit from both sides of the plate just furthers his talent and potential value.
The one area where Moncada somewhat struggles is in the field. While he has a powerful arm and tends to make flashy plays, some routine grounders and his ball-to-glove transfer seem to get the better of Moncada. At the moment, he plays second base, but the long-term projections have him slated for third or possibly even centerfield.
In Greenville (A ball), Moncada played in 81 games, hitting .278 with 8 home runs and 38 RBI. If these numbers don't astound you, then thats okay. However, a surprising, yet not necessarily unexpected, trait that Moncada showed this season was his speed. In 52 tries, Moncada stole 49 bases. Moncada had not played a game since 2013, so his numbers are much better than most scouts and management personnel predicted.
In Moncada's first professional season, he showed flashes of why the Red Sox shattered so many records to sign him. He has all-star potential, and is a clear cut five-tool top prospect. This offseason, many GMs around the league asked about the availability of Moncada, and the Red Sox appear poised to hang on to the talented Cuban for the long haul. Look for this guy to be the next great player in baseball.
By Pete Packowski