Red Sox promote Yoan Moncada to help fill third base void

Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada is on his way to the big leagues. (AP)
Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada is on his way to the big leagues. (AP)

An already loaded Boston Red Sox lineup may have added the final piece to its puzzle with the promotion of baseball’s top prospect Yoan Moncada.

The Red Sox made the promotion official after Wednesday’s 8-6 win against the Rays. Manager John Farrell had hinted at Moncada’s promotion with the rosters set to expand in September, and now we know he’ll make his anticipated debut this Friday night in Oakland.

Moncada, 21, was among the most highly regarded and aggressively pursued international free agents in history when he left Cuba last year. He ultimately agreed to join the Red Sox for a $31.5M signing bonus, which was the largest ever for an international free agent under the age of 23.

The Red Sox liked Moncada because he appeared polished even then at age 20. That’s proven to be true, as he’s worked his way up after just 186 games in the minors. In 486 plate appearances between Class-A Advanced and Double-A this season, Moncada hit .298/.411/.518. He also showed a remarkable mix of power and speed, delivering 15 home runs, 31 doubles and six triples to go along with 45 stolen bases.

Truth be told, he was probably ready to contribute at the major-league level months ago and maybe even the moment he signed. The only thing that really stood in his way from receiving an opportunity earlier was the presence of Dustin Pedroia at second base. Sometimes though it gets to a point where an opportunity has to be created to accommodate such talent, and for Boston the solution was actually pretty simple.

The Red Sox have been getting little production from third base all season after Pablo Sandoval’s season-ending shoulder injury. Travis Shaw did fill in capably for awhile, but recently fell into a timeshare with Aaron Hill. It’s not the most inspiring platoon situation, so Boston decided to shift Moncada to third base in recent days in hopes he’d adjust and perhaps slide into that role upon his arrival.

The Red Sox may have been a little rushed to promote him now so that he’ll be eligible for the postseason roster. Regardless, we’re sure Dave Dombrowski and his staff are confident Moncada is up to the task from a defensive standpoint. Offensively, it’s always a challenge to make that leap. That much is always assumed, but we doubt there’s any concern there given Moncada’s history.

As some have also noted, this might soften the blow somewhat of losing Andrew Benintendi to a knee injury. We doubt that played much into the Red Sox thinking, but they’ll be more than happy If he provides that type of spark.

This is an exciting time not only for the Red Sox organization and its fans, it’s a pretty exciting day for baseball in general as another piece of its bright future arrives.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!