First off let me say that Yoan Moncada should NOT be called up to the MLB this season.
Yes his arms are about as big as my thigh and yes he can really smack the cover off the ball–but let’s not forget that he just turned 20, has just three pro seasons (including Cuba) under his belt, and was in Low-A last year.
That said, the Sox have been featuring him a lot more than they would any other Low-A prospect–enough to give Moncada the start at second Wednesday afternoon against the Pirates.
While Moncada hit just .278 in his first season, as a 19 year old playing guys at least a year or two older than him he held his own. Not only that but the kid showed us just how special he is and why the Sox plunked down $30M on him–his speed and power. Moncada stole 49 bases in 81 games (which in itself is incredible) and posted a .817 OPS giving us a glimpse of the future.
But that’s it, it’s the future. It’s not now and it’s not September (if it is that’s a stupid mistake on part of the Sox).
Sure Moncada is doing decently well, even great at times, down in the minors but that’s against pitchers who a year ago were in college. How will he fair against players who have been around the league for years? Pitchers who can drop a 96mph fastball with a perfectly placed curve? Pitchers who know what they are doing?
The answer is not too pretty.
We’ve seen highly toted prospects that fizzled under the pressure because they were rushed too fast–Will Middlebrooks comes to mind. The last thing we want to do is put Moncada through a similar fate and watch him crumble under the pressure and lose confidence as he adjusts to an entirely new world.
Moncada went 0-2 with a walk and a run scored in his first start against the Pirates. It was a good effort and a glimpse of the future, but that’s all it will be for now. I’m sure we could all elevate the microcosm of one game to paint a picture of his entire career (for better or worse) but I won’t because in the grand scheme of things no matter how Moncada does this spring it won’t change a thing.
The Sox seem to be following a trend of starting 22 year olds though so perhaps in 2018 we’ll be running an article about Moncada earning the starting job. I suppose stranger things have happened.