Red Sox

A scout’s view on Moncada: ‘There’s not much he can’t do’

A scout’s view on Moncada: ‘There’s not much he can’t do’

For weeks -- if not months -- Red Sox fans have been clamoring for a look at Yoan Moncada in the major leagues.

On Friday, he arrives.

After all the hype, all the advance notice, all the excitement over someone who's been labeled as the game's best prospect, reality is here.  

What can we expect?

"He's good; real good,” said a major league scout who has seen Moncada extensively this season, both at Single A and Double A. "He's got a real simple stroke from both sides of the plate. He's strong enough to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He can run -- especially for someone his size -- and he can throw. There's not much he can't do.”

But, said the scout, life in the big leagues is far different from the Eastern League.

"There will be a learning curve,'' the scout said. "Teams will figure him out pretty quickly. And then it's a matter of, can you lay off the breaking stuff? Can you not chase [pitches out of the zone]? This isn't spring training. [The Red Sox] are going to be playing good teams and as soon as they get a book in him, he'll have to make adjustments.”

The scout hasn't seen Moncada at third base -- he moved there just a few weeks ago, and missed some games with a minor injury -- but believes he'll be good enough to make the transition.

"The kid's athletic,” the scout remarked. "It's like [Mookie] Betts when he went to the outfield. Betts figured it out pretty quickly and I think Moncada will, too [at third]. I'll put it this way: he's [a better option] than Travis Shaw at third.”

Moncada has been far more effective from the left side of the plate (.305/.399/.567) than the right (.167/.302/.389), but the scout believes that's more a matter of opportunity, having faced far more righties (141 at-bats at Portland) than lefties (36 at-bats).

"The balance is the same [from either side],” he said. "It's the same kind of line-drive swing.”

Even when Moncada isn't in the lineup, he'll benefit from being exposed to the big league environment, and be helped by others in the organization.     

“[Third base coach and infield instructor Brian] Butterfield is a huge bonus,” the scout said. "He'll get great instruction. And being around guys like [Xander] Bogaerts, [Mookie] Betts and [Jackie] Bradley Jr., they're all young and they're baseball rats. They really like to play. He'll see what the routine is like [in the major leagues]. It's like being the freshman in college [and being told] 'Go hang out with the three senior captain.' There are no negatives. Even if he only came up and sat on the bench, there would be a benefit.”

And while Moncada can inject some youth and energy into the lineup for the final month, it's he who will gain the most.

"It's not like he's being asked to come in and hit third and be The Guy,'' the scout said. "You've already got that. I just see no downside for him. It's the perfect scenario.”

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.