The Boston Red Sox called up top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada Wednesday night only 537 days since the team signed him as an international free agent out of Cuba. The switch hitter was signed for $63 million as a 2nd baseman but his role for the Red Sox this season is unclear as there is talk of him playing third base despite having limited time at third during his professional career since he is natural second baseman.
Moncada is being directly called up from Double-A Portland skipping AAA-Pawtucket and will most likely play primarily at third base due to the struggles of Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill, Moncada has a .314 batting average from the left side, compared to .171 when hitting righty. Based on these statistics it is highly probable that the Red Sox have Moncada bat lefty during his at bats this season at the major league level with the majority of his at-bats coming against right handed pitchers.
Moncada and fellow top prospect Andrew Benintendi are completely different players at the moment as far being “major league” ready at this point. Benintendi was praised by scouts as being ready for MLB action, and his performance before he went down with a lower body injury lived up to the scouts opinions. Moncada on the other hand has not had scouts tell Red Sox brass that he is 100% ready. His AA-Portland coach has said that Moncada is a 20+ home run player who has .300 potential in the majors, but he also noted that Moncada is not close to that point yet.
All of that is OK though, Moncada isn’t exactly replacing Manny Machado at third, he is replacing a Shaw and Hill who have been pretty much useless at the plate except for a couple of brief moments. Moncada doesn’t have to look like a star in his time with Boston this season, the goal for him should be to not look lost; or better yet, don’t look like Rusney Castillo. As long as Red Sox fans and management see the potential he has I’d call his call up a win.