International League Player of the Week: 3B Yoan Moncada – White Sox
Infielder Hit .500 This Week
It was a very interesting week in the International League. It would be easier if I were talking about the games that were played. Unfortunately one of the downfalls with playing baseball outside in April/May in the Northeast United States is the weather. It is very unpredictable and wreaks havoc on a baseball schedule. The other thing that it wreaks havoc on is my Player of the Week. So many could have been in contention if a full slate of games were played. Even with the unfortunate postponements of games, one player could still take home the hardware. Charlotte Knights Yoan Moncada is this weeks Legends on Deck International League Player of the Week.
Moncada, who turns just 22-years old at the end of the month, has been have a great season for the Knights. As everyone knows by now, Moncada made his way to the White Sox organization in the deal that sent Chris Sale to Boston. This is his first time in his professional career playing in Triple-A, and he may be forcing the hand of the White Sox front office.
In his 27 games so far this season, Moncada is hitting .352 with six home runs and 11 driven in. One knock on his game this year is his tendency to strike out. He has 33 so far in 119 plate appearances, but he is still just 21 and learning the game here. Moncada has been demonstrating more power and also has been drawing more walks which is a promising sign.
The Boston Red Sox signed Moncada in February 2015. The $31.5 million bonus is an international record, but the Red Sox felt with him they had their infielder of the future. In his first professional season in the US, he hit .278 in Class-A ball with the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. 2016 would be an interesting year for Moncada going from Class-A Salem, to Double-A Portland, all the way to Boston for his MLB debut. It wouldn’t be the best of debuts, but he still was able to get a taste of the major leagues.
In a surprise move this past offseason, Boston shipped their prized prospect to the windy city and his time with the Red Sox is over. With the White Sox in full re-build mode, they don’t appear to be in a hurry to bring Moncada back to the bigs. It is a nice problem to have for an organization when you have an almost 22-year old producing eye-popping numbers at the highest level of the minor leagues. I doubt that he will be kept down there all season.
Congratulations to Yoan Moncada on another excellent week and to being named Legends on Deck International League Player of the Week.
It was really difficult this week (as it is most weeks) to pick just one player. Moncada’s week was great, but so to was Clint Frazier‘s of the Scranton/WB RailRiders. The New York Yankees prospect went 8-for-17, scoring six runs, collecting four doubles, with a home run, and six RBI. Another player that caught my attention is Columbus Clippers Yandy Diaz. He drove in eight runs for the Clippers and went 7-for-14 on the week. One more game might have made the difference. It won’t be a surprise if he picks up the award next week if he continues to rake.
Max Moroff of the Indianapolis Indians had a power-driven week, knocking three of his six hits out of the park. Another player to really keep an eye on Rhys Hoskins of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies). This week he went 6-for-18 but four of those hits were for extra bases including two homers. Brandon Dixon of Louisville had a weekly cycle going 9-for-20 with two doubles, a triple, and a home run, while driving in seven.
On the pitching front, Matt Purke of Charlotte threw four innings of no-run baseball with nine strikeouts. Michael Mariot of Lehigh Valley recorded two holds and a save in three innings without allowing a run. Louisville Bats Kevin Shackelford picked up a win and save without allowing a hit or a run.