OK, so the Yankees did not sign 19-year-old Cuban defector Yoan Moncada. According to reports, he went to the Boston Red Sox for a deal in the $30 million range.
What does this mean? It is certainly not the end of the world for the Yankees. It is not the time to drive to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge and throw yourself off because Moncada, 19, will be wearing a Red Sox uniform sometime in the future.
The Yankees gave it all they had with Moncada. Perhaps the fact fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo will likely be starting in the outfield for Boston tipped the scales. That’s life in the big city.
We have not seen Moncada play – certainly we will when he passes through Trenton this summer with Boston’s Double-A farm team, the Portland Sea Dogs. His power is compared to what the Cubs’ Jorge Soler and Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig did at a similar junior level in Cuba. We have heard his defense is good, OK and not so good. Again, we won’t know anything for sure until we see him play.
One thing we do know, from scouts and development people who have never steered us wrong on any player is Moncada is likely to start at the Class-A Advanced level, which in the Boston system is the Salem (Va.) Red Sox. Likely we’ll get a chance to see Moncada in Carolina League play in Wilmington.
With his potential, Moncada has not faced top-flight American pitching, and he is just 19. Given what we have heard, it would not surprise if he quickly dominates the Carolina League and moves up to Portland. Double-A could be a bit of a challenge. If he dominates in Maine, he’s on his way.
We would like to tell you a little secret about the Yankees system. There is a legitimate chance the Yankees already, by signing 10 of the top 30 International Prospects last July, have two players who could easily turn out to be as good or better than Moncada.
Remember the names of outfielder Juan DeLeon and infielder Dermis Garcia. Both are 17. Both have power potential rated about equal to that of Moncada at present. The Yankees spent a combined $5 million on this Dominican pair last summer. Chances are legitimate one or the other will be right there with Moncada in the major leagues in a few years.
And, from what scouts have told me, especially in Garcia’s case, his fielding and play in the infield are superior to Moncada’s. Also don’t forget a plus-power prospect the Yankees will have at Double-A Trenton this season named Aaron Judge.
Scouts have mentioned Moncada’s likely best positions are third base and the outfield. The Yankees have Chase Headley for four years, plus solid prospects Eric Jagielo, Miguel Andujar and Garcia at that position.
If you want to vent about the Yankees not getting Moncada, feel free. If you want to Tweet how the Yankees don’t go after such players anymore, it’s your account.
Players, when money is equal, select where they want to play for other reasons. If Moncada and his people felt more comfortable with Boston, it’s their choice. Andrew Miller took less money than was offered elsewhere to sign with the Yankees. It depends what, where and why a player feels comfortable.
It would have been nice if the Yankees had added Moncada. It would have been nice for us to watch him play and talk to him over a likely period of months in Trenton this season.
On the other hand, is not signing him a disaster? No way.