Yoan Moncada in Sedona Red?
By Joseph Jacquez
Its clear that the Diamondbacks want to dominate the international market. Will Yoan Moncada be the Dbacks third Cuban signing?
Nineteen year old Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada will work out for the Diamondbacks next week along with the Dodgers, and the Cubs according to a report by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Moncada wants to finish private workouts with clubs by February 23rd, and he hopes to make a decision as to which team he will play for by the end of the month.
This is really the first time were hearing the Diamondbacks being mentioned as a possible suitor for his services, but it shouldn’t surprise anybody.
The Diamondbacks are trying to make an impact on the international market. They have already signed RHP Yoan Lopez, and slugger Yasmany Tomas.
Just imagine if they could also add Moncada. Their farm system would become one of the best in baseball.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, and Brewers have also all shown interest in Moncada, who is the biggest remaining free agent.
Here is something important that everybody should know: because Moncada is under 23 years old, and did not play in the Cuban Professional League for a minimum of five seasons, which ever team signs him is subject to the international signing guidelines.
The Diamondbacks are one of three teams in baseball that have already exceeded their allotted bonus pools by more than 15 percent and would have to pay the maximum penalty during the 2015-2016 International Signing Period.
Here is what the penalty entails according to Sanchez:
"“The penalty includes a 100-percent tax on their pool overage and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.”"
Considering the talent that is expected to be available over the next two signing periods, the Diamondbacks have to consider those rules before deciding to go all in on Moncada.
Its clear that the Dbacks like Moncada, but they also like Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda who could be posted next winter.
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While anything can happen, Moncada seems like the real deal. He is 19 years old, he can play three defensive positions, and he has plus power, speed, contact, and he has a plus throwing arm. There isn’t a downside right now on him.
Here is a scouting report from Ben Balder at Baseball America from last August:
"“How good is Moncada? He has more upside than Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who just reached a $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox. He’s better than Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who’s in the Dominican Republic but is still likely several months away from free agency. If Moncada were eligible for the 2015 draft, he would be in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick. Gourriel and Despaigne would be safer bets, but there’s no player in Cuba with Moncada’s combination of youth, tools and hitting ability.Moncada generated excitement in the scouting community in October 2010 at the COPABE Pan American 16U Championships in Mexico, then again in August 2011 when he dominated the 16U World Championship in Mexico, where he earned all-star honors at third base by hitting .417/.563/.667 in seven games.Back home in Cuba’s 16U national league that year, Moncada was the country’s top hitter, batting .500/.643/.918 in 158 plate appearances, leading the league in batting average, OBP, slugging, home runs (8) and walks (37) while going 15-for-15 in stolen bases.Moncada stepped up to the country’s 18U national league in 2012, where he again led the league in batting average, OBP and slugging by hitting .434/.543/.648 in 152 plate appearances with a league-best 20 steals in 24 tries.”“In 2012-13, Moncada made his Serie Nacional debut for Cienfuegos, where he was teammates with White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Dodgers shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena. Moncada performed well for a 17-year-old, hitting .283/.414/.348 in 172 plate appearances with 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Moncada also made his mark at the league’s all-star game, where Cuba holds certain skill competitions in addition to a home run derby. Among the events are races to first base and around the bases. At the 2012-13 all-star game, Moncada won both races, beating Castillo, a 70 runner on the 20-80 scale, and Guillermo Heredia, a 60 runner who started in center field in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.After the season ended, Moncada joined the Cuban national team in the Netherlands in July 2013 to play in the World Port Tournament, though he only received sporadic playing time there. He was still young enough to play in the 18U World Championship that year in September in Taiwan, where he led the Cuban team in all three slash categories by hitting .375/.483/.542 in 29 trips to the plate.This past season in Cuba, Moncada hit .273/.365/.406 in 195 plate appearances as an 18-year-old, spending most of his time at second base with occasional stints at shortstop and center field.”"
As Balder said, if Moncada were in this year’s draft, he probably would go no.1. That is how good he is.
He probably will play second-base in the big leagues, and really there is no downside in signing him.
Plus, Aaron Hill‘s contract comes off the books after the 2016 season, and while Brandon Drury or Jake Lamb could play second, they are third basemen. Moncada would probably spend two years in the minors, so the timing would be perfect.
Keep in mind: Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart were a big part of Tomas and Lopez decisions to sign with Arizona. The same could happen with Moncada.
I see no reason why the Diamondbacks shouldn’t sign him other than the signing pool penalties. What do you guys think. Should the Dbacks sign Moncada? Vote in our poll, and watch the video!