Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, originally scheduled to play in the Puerto Rican Winter League, will not be playing until spring after all, as Rob Bradford reports that a hand injury suffered during fall instructionals will keep him sidelined.
It's unfortunate news, to be sure, but hardly the end of the world. Assuming this hand injury of his--the result of getting hit by a pitch--isn't somehow still a problem by the time March has rolled around, Moncada will basically enter 2016 with a normal offseason behind him. Given all the time he missed in getting here in the first place, some extra reps down in Puerto Rico would have done him some good, but these leagues are just supplements to the regular season. Helpful, but not exactly necessary.
One part of what makes these leagues so odd is the wide range of skill levels that show up. With the minor leagues divided up into so many different levels, players tend to face others at their level.
Not so in the winter and fall leagues. To give you an idea of how this works out down south, 19-year-old Rafael Devers who hasn't seen High-A Salem yet is playing alongside 21-year-old Manuel Margot, who might start 2016 in Pawtucket, and 25-year-old Roman Mendez, who has more than 40 major league innings under his belt with the Rangers. Add in the short schedule, and it can be awfully hard for a player to figure out what, exactly, he needs to work on
That, for the record, is also why you shouldn't put all that much stock in Manuel Margot's .190/.190/.286 batting line in the Dominican Republic, or Victor Acosta's .313/.500/.438 in Venezuela. For a fanbase nearly a month removed from Red Sox baseball (and longer still from meaningful games), it's all too easy to get a little too wrapped up in mostly meaningless performances.