Ht: 6’2” Wt: 205
Acquired: Received from Boston in Chris Sale deal, 12/6/2016
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #1 – 2017 preseason
- South Atlantic League All Star, Postseason 2015
- 2015 Most Outstanding Major League Prospect
- 2015 MiLB.com Organization All-Star
- #3 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2016 (Baseball America)
- #7 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2016 (MLB Pipeline)
- Carolina League All Star, Midseason and Postseason 2016
- 2016 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year
- 2016 MiLB.com Organizational All-Star
- 2016 MiLB.com Post-Season All-Star
- 2016 Futures Game MVP
- #2 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (Baseball America)
- #5 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (Baseball Prospectus)
- #2 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (MLB Pipeline)
- Best Athlete overall, Preseason 2017 (Baseball America)
- International League All Star, Midseason 2017
- Futures Game participant, 2017
- #1 Prospect in MLB, Midseason 2017 (Baseball America)
- #1 Prospect in MLB, Midseason 2017 (Baseball Prospectus)
Signed for a record-breaking $31.5 million (and an additional $31.5 million in penalties) last March, Moncada has proved to be worth that and more as he wows scouts at every stop. The Cuban import started with Class A Greenville in 2015 and slashed .278/.380./438 while stealing 49 bases over 81 games. Moncada was moved up to A+ Salem and spent the majority of 2016 tormenting pitchers to the tune of .307/.427/.496 with 36 steals over 61 games. The Red Sox promoted him to AA Portland, where he lost some points off his batting average and OBP, but slugged .531 over his 45 games there. Boston then rewarded him and picked him as a September call-up to the big league club, where he struggled while playing periodically.
Moncada is one of the most physically gifted players in the game and at 6’2”, 205 pounds, is built more like an NFL linebacker than a second baseman. In addition to his prodigious strength, Moncada runs like a deer, garnering a 65-70 grade on his foot speed on a 20-80 scouting scale. With 94 stolen bases in just 187 minor league games, he is a legitimate threat to steal every time he reaches base. At the plate, Moncada is a switch-hitter who is much more dangerous from the left side. Moncada’s left-handed swing is short, compact, and has ferocious bat speed through the zone. He consistently barreled up pitches, sending lasers to all fields, and is famous for his opposite field stroke. His right-handed swing is stiffer, lacks the explosive bat speed, and doesn’t finish with the same extension as his lefty swing. Moncada is far from terrible from the right side (.243/.371/.379 in 2016) but it will be interesting to see how his swing develops or if the White Sox consider scrapping it altogether. In 2016 Moncada crushed righties to the tune of .305/.410/.539 and accumulated 43 of his 53 extra base hits from the left side.
The big risk with Moncada is he struggles to make consistent contact and his barrel control has been described as “mediocre.” He has struck out in 24.2% of his minor league plate appearances and 12 more times over 20 major league PA’s. While a high strikeout rate is probably sounding alarm bells in most White Sox fans’ ears, Moncada is a prospect who can theoretically absorb it with a high BABIP. Simply put, when Moncada does make contact, he vaporizes balls and combined with his speed, he can withstand a fair amount of whiffs and still be a successful hitter. Moncada is a patient hitter and accumulates walks to support a high OBP, but he has struggled with his plate discipline at the higher levels. A White Sox pitching prospect we spoke with who has faced him called him a “beast” and said he has a “very advanced approached” and is a “tough out.” Defensively, Moncada has split time between 2B and 3B and has been developing nicely at third since the Red Sox have given him reps there. However, the White Sox have been playing him back at his original position of second base. Moncada has above average range at 2B, but has made mental mistakes working around the bag and sometimes is a victim of sloppy footwork. His arm is more than enough for the position.
In summary, Yoan Moncada is a physical freak with tools to match whose ambitious comparison by MLB Pipeline is “Robinson Cano with more speed.” With his raw power and speed, it isn’t out of the question to dream of Moncada maturing into an annual 30 home run/30 stolen bases threat while locking down either 3B or 2B. Combined with Tim Anderson at SS, the White have an exciting 1-2 punch to develop together during this rebuild.
Major League Outlook: All-Star ceiling, MLB starting 2B likely
ETA: Midseason 2017