clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cuban defector Yoan Moncada has turned a corner for the Red Sox affiliate in Greenville

New, 2 comments

After a slow start, Yoan Moncada is heating up and he might not stay in Low-A for long.

The Boston Red Sox broke the bank this offseason signing Cuban defector Yoan Moncada for a $31,500,000 bonus, putting them over the cap for the international bonus pool and costing the organization $63,000,000 altogether when the total penalty was calculated.

Moncada left the island of Cuba under a shroud of secrecy in June of 2014 and from all accounts, was out of organized baseball until he signed with the Red Sox in late February of 2015. The time away from the game appeared to delay his development and it took a while for the second baseman to start firing again on all cylinders at the plate.

The 20-year-old is on fire lately, batting .356 in his last 10 games with three home runs. There has been a marked difference from the beginning of the season to recently as the chart below emphasizes.





First Half





Second Half





I spoke with Greenville manager Darren Fenster after the game and he discussed Moncada's disappointing start.

"His first month and half he didn't perform the way he expected to, and the way a lot of people expected him to." said Fenster. " There's a lot of things you can probably attribute to that, whether he was putting undue pressure on himself, whether because of the layoff or just coming into a new culture. Here in the second half he's really turned the corner and put a lot of things together."

Scouts love Moncada because of his speed, power and advanced approach at the plate. He has a strong throwing arm, and has recently demonstrated advanced range for a second baseman. In a game against Asheville on July 19, Moncada chased a bouncing ball deep into the grass behind first base, making a pop-up slide and barely missed getting the out as the pitcher was late covering first.

Later in the sixth inning however, Moncada showed his age as he charged a dribbler hit by the speedy Yonathan Daza and transferred quickly from his glove only to bounce the throw to first base. The Cuban then made up for it on the next play as he smoothly snagged a hot shot to his left and started a 4-6-3 double play.

I asked Fenster what he thought of the Cuban's defensive skills.

"He has made significant progress from (Spring Training) down in Florida to May, even to where he is right now," said Fenster. "He was really three different players, and that's really a testament to all the work that he's put in before the gates open."

Yoan's range and quick reflexes were on display earlier in the week when he made this diving grab to erase a base hit up the middle.

Moncada is a switch hitter, and he carries a balanced split against both lefties and righties. I'm told that he has more loft from the right side, and tends to be more of a line drive gap hitter when batting left handed. Yoan hit an inside-the-park home run earlier this week on an opposite field shot from the right side of the plate, as seen in this video against Augusta.

The length of Moncada's expected stay for the Red Sox Low-A team is up in the air. Greenville officials don't expect him to be there for long if his hot streak continues. He may have found the ‘on switch' as one front office member put it, and that switch could be leading him to the next level.