The Chicago White Sox can only hope they acquired the superstar prospect they bargained for last December when trading ace left-hander Chris Sales to the Boston Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, and three other young minor league players.
Why would the Red Sox give up on the 21-year old, switch hitting Cuban exile they reportedly paid $31.5 millions dollars to sign less than two years ago.
His future is still touted. At Low A – Greenville in 2015, he hit 278 BA, 8 HR and 38 RBIs in 306 AB in 81 GP, at Fast A – Salem in 2016, 307 BA, 4 HR, 34 RBI in 228 AB in 61 GP, and second half 2016, at AA- Portland, 277 BA, 11 HR, 28 RBI in177 AB in 45 GP.
Baseball soothsayers still report Moncada is the next best thing since sliced bread. He is rated BA 2nd best of its top 100 2017 major-league prospects, the White Sox’s BA #1 prospect and a five tool player ready to explode onto the major league scene. He is also on display on the cover of Baseball America Prospect Handbook.
Did the Red Sox sour on the young prospect during his 8 GP trial with the parent club last September, when tried at 3B, he hit only a double and three singles in 19 AB in 8 GP, and did not show the power aptitude for 3B play or as Dustin Pedroia’s replacement at 2B.
Maybe Red Sox development folks thought Moncada expendable after watching 20-year old 2017 BA Red Sox #2 prospect, 3B Rafael Devers’ rapid development at Fast A- Salem in 2016. I was told by a major league scout at Frederick last season that Devers was the best player on the field, both teams considered.
Did it hurt Moncada striking out 12 of 19 AB at Boston, or 207 of 711 minor league AB and struggling with a low learning curve when given instruction by Red Sox hitting gurus trying to help him shorten his long swing to reach his power potential consistently against older, savvy Fast A and AA pitchers.
Did it hurt him showing a “me now” attitude in the minors, coming out for infield practice, a couple minutes after the 3B, SS, and 1B had already started the grounder warmups or struggling to accept coaching tips on how to play the Red Sox way.
Did it hurt the young prospect ignoring young kids (and adults) requests for autographs and a few minutes conversation at every park in the SALLY, Carolina, and Eastern League he played the past two seasons.
Will it hurt him at Chicago having to beat out hard hitting Todd Frazier or BA #13 White Sox prospect Trey Michalczewski at 3B or Bret Laurie at 2B.
An old baseball philosopher, Mark Twain, once spoke an adage which is applicable to young Moncada, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” You can measure how fast Moncada runs, how far he throws, how many fly balls he catches, and how many hr, and base hits he hits, but you cannot measure the size of his desire to win, or his effort to develop his unlimited skills by listening to folks who know.
As Carlos Beltran warned the world baseball when asked last July about the prospects the Yankees received in return in trade for Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and himself, “A prospect is a prospect. It doesn’t mean they’re going to become a player.”
The question about this young prospect’s future is still out there, Will Yoan Moncada knuckle down to be a bonafide major league star or be content to be just another also ran.