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Legends On Deck

My First Look At Yoan Moncada

 

Yoan Moncada - BART BOATWRIGHT - Greenvilleonline.com Staff

Photo Credit: Bart Boatwright/Greenvilleonline.com Staff

I took a trip down to Greenville, SC on Friday to see the Drive take on the Rome Braves, which was the sixth time this season I made the 70 mile drive down from Asheville.

The Drive are an exciting team this year, and they’re loaded with talented prospects such as, (2B) Yoan Moncada, (3B, DH) Rafael Devers, (SS) Javier Guerra, (3B, DH) Michael Chavis, and (RHP) Michael Kopech and interesting specs in (2B, SS) Mauricio Dubon, (1B, RF) Nick Longhi, (C) Jordan Procyshen and (C) Ben Moore. It’s unusual to see this much talent on one team at the low-A level.

On this most recent trip, I finally got my first look at high profile prospect Yoan Moncada (pronounced like the fish, cod). The first thing you notice is that he’s built. He looked to be about 5’11”, 200 LB’s and could pass for an NFL running back, not your typical 2nd baseman. I watched him during the warm up stretches and he was laughing it up with Dubon, Chavis and others, not much to go on but could be an indication that he’s a well liked teammate, not sure how his English is though. He was signing autographs right near where I was sitting and I shook his hand, he has very large hands which I found interesting.

At the plate, he’s a switch hitter, but I only saw him bat from the left side. He has somewhat of an open stance, a quick bat and a short stroke with a slight uppercut, and the ball really jumps off of his bat. It’s his strong hands that really generate the bat speed and I could see plus power in his future. The short stroke and plus bat speed should lead to a decent contact rate too though he has struggled with contact to this point. I just don’t think we can derive any meaning from his stats right now, as this is his first real game action since he left Cuba.

In his first at bat on Friday, Moncada walked on four pitches, he came home on a Guerra HR. In his second AB he lined out to RF on a 88 MPH inside fastball, which he got good wood on the ball and it got to the RF in a hurry. In his third AB he lined out to LF on a 91 MPH fastball that was low and away. In his fourth and final AB he turned on a 90 MPH inside fastball and ripped a bullet into the right field corner. I finally got to see him run but with catcher Jordan Procyshen on first base and certainly stopping at third, Moncada wasn’t going all out as he had second base easily.

Defensively, He has eight errors so far in his short stay in Greenville but again you kind of have to throw the stats out the window. The first ball I saw hit to him was a soft one hopper heading toward the second base bag, he turned that pretty easily. The second play was a bit tougher, a ground ball also up the middle, he got there and made a nice play on it. The third and final chance was a sharp grounder in the hole between first and second, in which he dove and the ball hit the lip of the outfield grass and jumped over his glove and into RF. He got there though and had the ball stayed on the ground he would have at least knocked it down. It was just one game but he showed enough range for the position and he has plenty of arm strength.

Moncada is an exciting player, and I look forward to following his march toward Boston. It will be interesting to see how long he’ll be in Greenville.

Questions/comments? look for me on Twitter @AshevilleSoxFan or use the space below to post your comment. As always thanks for reading.

John Calvagno

John is a staff writer for legends on deck. A Red Sox fan and Minor league enthusiast, he's usually writing about minor league baseball.John also loves Bruins hockey and Syracuse basketball.
John is married with two grown daughters and lives in Asheville, NC.
you can find John on Twitter @AshevilleSoxFan