March 2, 2015 at 12:33 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes from Fort Myers where the first full squad workouts took place last Wednesday:
- The huge news this past week was that the Red Sox reportedly reached an agreement to sign 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada (pictured, right) for a signing bonus of $31.5 million, the largest ever for a minor league contract.
- Moncada was a very highly regarded potential five-tool player, and therefore it is no surprise that much of this week's news was focused on the Red Sox latest signing. The SoxProspects.com podcast team jumped on the news, and on Wednesday recorded a podcast with Baseball America's Ben Badler where they discussed all things Moncada and touched on some other topics.
- Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington could not officially confirm the Moncada signing yet, but he was happy to give his scouting report on the player, and also talked about the team's approach to scouting Cuban players as the Providence Journal's Tim Britton writes.
- The Red Sox total cost to acquire Moncada was actually $63 million, because they were taxed 100 percent on the contract for exceeding their international spending pool allotment. That is a lot of money and a lot of risk for a prospect who is not major league ready, and several people wanted to look at the deal in more detail. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, who first broke the news, took an in depth look at the fine print of the deal. Meanwhile, FanGraphs' Dave Cameron took a statistical look at the deal, and why paying $63 million for Moncada makes sense.
- FanGraphs' Kiley McDaniel was the first to record an interview with Moncada after the signing. The informal interview includes talk of Moncada's preferred position, walk-up music, and life outside of Cuba.
- The Yankees were presumed by many as the favorites to sign Moncada. The New York Times' Tyler Kepner looked at why the Yankees came up short, how it is a sign of the Red Sox betting big on hitters in their prime, and the impact it could have on the move towards an international draft.
- Last year's 26th overall pick, Michael Chavis, knows a little about the pressure of being a highly touted amateur player. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford talked with him about those pressures, his future, and learning from current major leaguers.
- Seth McClung was a major league pitcher for six seasons, and had been one of the guys who was coaching Moncada while he waited to sign a deal with a professional team. McClung has a lot of praise for the young Cuban and says he is a "great fit" for the Red Sox writes Britton.
- Another former major league pitcher, Red Sox great, and Cuban native, Luis Tiant, played a role in helping recruit Moncada writes Gordon Edes for ESPNBoston.
- Another Cuban player, described as Moncada's mentor, Carlos Mesa, also signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox as WEEI.com's John Tomase notes. The 27-year-old outfielder formerly played for the Pirates.
- The Red Sox have one of the top farm systems in baseball, and with all that talent comes high expectations. Some highly touted prospects have recently been promoted to the majors with varying success, and the Red Sox have spent big on free agent bats this off-season. Despite all of that, Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says it's okay to believe the hype with these elite prospects.
- News surfaced earlier this winter that a group including Larry Lucchino was going to buy the Pawtucket Red Sox, and that deal was announced last Monday. Along with that news, there also surfaced a series of reports that the team would possibly be moved, with Providence the most likely destination.
- One area that is pegged as a possible location for a new stadium in Providence is the land that was previously part of Route 195. Kate Bramson writes for the Providence Journal that getting that land might not be as simple as one might think.
- Pawtucket has had a minor league baseball team since 1970, and SI.com's Cliff Corcoran looks back at the long history of baseball on the north side of the Seekonk River.
- Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (pictured, right), currently ranked fifth on the SoxProspects.com rankings, had impressive results after being acquired last year at the trading deadline for Andrew Miller. Over 37 1/3 innings, he posted a 0.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, with 8 walks and 39 strikeouts for Portland last year after coming over. In his short time down at the Fort, the Red Sox like what they see from Rodriguez writes Alex Speier for the Boston Globe.
- Other players who are new to the organization or close to major league ready may be getting more attention, but center fielder Manuel Margot is a player to keep an eye on. Speier writes for Baseball America about the potential five-tool player.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. does not qualify as a prospect anymore, but will likely begin the year in Triple-A. He struggled offensively during his time in the majors last season, but his amazing defense did not get overlooked. Manager John Farrell described Bradley as the "best center fielder in baseball" writes Bradford.
- Several Red Sox draftees have made big impressions in another sport, football. Shaq Thompson excelled as a safety, linebacker, and running back for the Washington Huskies, but back in 2012 he was less impressive while playing outfield for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. MMQB's Emily Kaplan met up with Thompson, who is a possible first round selection in this year's NFL draft, to discuss his development, and how he learned how to accept and grow from failure while playing baseball.
- Thompson was not the only former Red Sox draftee making waves at the NFL scouting combine. Ole Miss cornerback and Red Sox 2011 eighth round pick, Senquez Golson, showed that he has NFL speed, as Comcast Sportsnet's Phil Perry notes.
- 2011 sixth-round pick Miguel Pena was released by the team, Speier reports. Last year, Pena was suspended 100 games for his third positive test for a drug of abuse, and he was sent home from the Cape Cod League for reasons that were never officially reported while he was in college.
- In other former Red Sox news, former Red Sox outfielder and first baseman Alex Hassan was claimed on waivers from the Baltimore Orioles by the Oakland Athletics, notes the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham.
Photo Credit: Yoan Moncada by the Boston Globe and Eduardo Rodriguez by Kelly O'Connor (wish her a happy birthday @sittingstillsox).
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.