Boston Red Sox’s manager John Farrell offered reporters a glimpse into the team’s plans come September roster expansion, suggesting Yoan Moncada will likely be called up.
“We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him. When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.”
The Red Sox have been having trouble with production at third base lately. Travis Shaw—who more than admirably filled in when Pablo Sandoval was injured—has definitely slowed. Since the All-Star break, Shaw’s slash line has dwindled from .269/.332/.456 to .189/.268/.360. Compounding matters, the lefty batter doesn’t even have favorable platoon splits in the second half. Against left-handed pitchers in 24 second-half plate appearances, Shaw is hitting six percent worse than the league average by wRC+. Against right-handers—his supposed platoon advantage side—he’s hitting 44 percent worse in 99 second-half plate appearances.
The recently-acquired Aaron Hill was brought in to play from the other side of the plate as Shaw, however, that too has not panned out well. As a right-handed batter who can play third base, it seems like a perfectly serviceable platoon situation at face value. Against left-handed pitching in the second half though, Hill’s .237/.310/.342 has been 27 percent worse than the league average.
Enter Moncada then, who happens to have been moved to third base over the past month with Double-A Pawtucket. At that level so far this season, Moncada has slashed .286/.388/.554 in 197 plate appearances while hitting 11 home runs. While that is definitely impressive, Moncada’s strikeout rate also spiked up to 31 percent with his call-up to Double-A.
According to the mid-season top 100 prospect list on Baseball America, Moncada is the best prospect in all of baseball. Adding a player with Moncada’s skills can certainly shake up a postseason race, and the AL East looks to be hotly contested down the stretch.