On Wednesday night, the Red Sox announced they would be recalling the #1 prospect in all of baseball, Yoan Moncada, to Boston for their September playoff push. Moncada was batting .298/.411/.518 with 15 home runs and 45 steals in 105 games this season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland before the call-up.
While President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski has been reluctant to let his $200+ million team rest in the hands of rookies, it appears he was more at ease with the scenario after watching Andrew Benintendi flourish with the big league club before a knee strain landed him on the 15-day disabled list.
Furthermore, the Red Sox desperately need production out of the third base position, as it has been a revolving door at the hot corner since Pablo Sandoval went down with a season-ending "injury." According to Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports, the Red Sox third basemen are 27th in batting average (.248), and 28th in OPS (.704). For a potential AL East-winning team, that isn't going to cut it in the playoffs.
While we have seen sparks from Travis Shaw, Aaron Hill and Brock Holt, each player has been exposed throughout the season. After mashing 13 home runs and batting to the tune of .270 in 65 games last season, Shaw has regressed, as major league pitchers know how to get the young left-hander to swing and miss. In 124 games this season, Shaw has only one more home run than last year and is batting only .248.
After being acquired by the Red Sox earlier in the season, people had high expectations for veteran third baseman Aaron Hill. While Hill is not the same player that hit 36 home runs and drove in 108 runs in 2009, it was believed that peppering balls up against The Monster in left field could revitalize the 34-year-old's career. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened. In 33 games for the Red Sox this season, Hill is batting a measly .196 with only three extra base hits. Furthermore, it appears that he is in baseball purgatory after losing the confidence of manager John Farrell.
Finally, we have Brock Holt. After dealing with concussion issues for a good chunk of the season, Holt has returned to the role of super utility player for the Red Sox, but has had to play almost every day because of injuries and a general lack of depth at the major league level. In 76 games for the Red Sox, Holt is batting .264 with six home runs. Now, these numbers would not be bad if he was a key piece off the bench, but they are not good enough for the starting third baseman on a playoff team.
Because of this, I love the idea of giving Yoan Moncada a shot at the hot corner for the final ~30 games of the regular season. At 21-years-old, I am very interested in seeing how Moncada is used by John Farrell. Does he start at third base right away, similar to his Portland teammate, Andrew Benintendi? Does Farrell bring him up in key situations as an above-average left-handed bat off the bench? Or do the Red Sox think that Moncada is not ready yet to play in the field and hit everyday, so they limit his exposure to strictly pinch-running in a Dave Roberts-type of role?
All of these questions will be answered in the next month, as we get to see one of the most exciting minor leaguers to ever come through the Red Sox farm system make his debut tonight in Oakland.
Oh, and if you need a little something to hold you over until tonight's game, here is Moncada's mammoth home run in the Minor League All-Star Game: