Is Yoan Moncada too big to play second?

Posted on Nov 22 2015 - 8:53am by Tyler Scionti


So last night we ran a story on Yoan Moncada featuring a video from one of his offseason workouts.

Simply put, the kid is jacked.

He stands at 6’2″ and 205 pounds and he’s only 19; he’ll easily be in the 220-230 range by the time he’s fully developed but it brings a big question of to the front of my mind: is that “too big” for second base? Granted second doesn’t quite require the nimble athleticism that shortstop does, but for a middle infielder the ability to cover a lot of ground quickly, while being agile enough to turn a double play, is a necessity.

Now most second baseman are on the smaller side, you think of a guy who is slim yet solid with a decent arm and good hands and you’re picturing 99% of the second basemen in the MLB. There is one though who sets a precedent of sorts for Moncada: Seattle Mariners’ very own Robinson Cano.

Cano, like Moncada, is a big guy, he’s listed at 6’0″ and 210 pounds which is right around Moncada’s size, yet he has, obviously, done well enough to merit keeping his job and not moving to another area on the diamond. Cano is a solid defender and has an excellent arm, but has often been criticized for lacking the range that many other second basemen posses. Cano has a career total DWAR (defensive WAR) of 6.3, boasting four negative marks in his 11 MLB seasons. For comparison, Dustin Pedroia has a career DWAR of 13.2, with just one negative mark which he earned in his rookie year.

Moncada can play second all he wants, and nothing will stop him because Cano does it fairly well, but the simple fact of the matter is that the bigger he gets, the slower he will get, and it will start to negatively impact his performance. Now,  that is not to say that if he can keep his weight in check, or possibly even slim down, he cannot keep playing, but his 23 errors in 71 games at second may speak otherwise.

Being a younger player it won’t be hard for him to switch gears early and given his size third base could be a very good role for him, mainly because it relies on reaction time more than anything else and we’ve seen several larger third basemen who have been very successful (larger as in muscular, not that fata$$ Pablo).