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Red Sox vs. Pirates lineups: Yoan Moncada starting on (Pittsburgh) TV

Yoan Moncada starting? In a televised game? It's happening! (But not in our market...)

Kelly O'Connor

For those Red Sox fans hoping for another look at the team's top prospect, today's your lucky day. If you're in Pittsburgh, or have MLB TV, that is. Yoan Moncada is starting at second base Wednesday afternoon as the Sox hit the road to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.

Boston Red Sox (4-3)

  1. Rusney Castillo, LF
  2. Blake Swihart, DH
  3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
  4. Travis Shaw, 1B
  5. Ryan Hanigan, C
  6. Brennan Boesch, RF
  7. Deven Marrero, SS
  8. Ryan LaMarre, CF
  9. Yoan Moncada, 2B

Starting Pitcher -- Joe Kelly

There are good and bad aspects to spring training. On the bad side of things, we have so very many games that don't matter producing misleading samples which, if history is to be believed, we're basically better off pretending never happened. Also prospects fight and break hands and oh God I still can't believe that happened.

On the good side, though, we get the prospects who don't break their hands playing amongst the big fish. These are guys we hear about a lot more than we see, and it's great to get eyes on them in even a faux-competitive environment.

But usually that's reserved for the guys at the top levels. Mostly just Triple-A, occasionally a Portland player or two. Yoan Moncada is way out of that range by experience alone. He not only has zero games at Portland, but zero games at High-A Salem, having never played above Greenville. There's a big gap between that and the type of player who usually gets into these games.

What should we make of that? Likely it means the Red Sox don't view Moncada as a High-A player. Or at least they're open to the idea that he might be more. Remember, before the Sox stuck a rusty Moncada in Greenville, there were many who expected him to start as high as Double-A. And after getting over that rust, he really didn't look like a player facing appropriate competition.

Does this mean the Red Sox will start Moncada in Double-A right off the bat? Maybe not. Skipping levels is outside of the organization's typical behavior. But Moncada is outside the realm of typical prospects, both in terms of talent, and how he ended up in Greenville to begin with. It's not hard to imagine the Red Sox are using this time in spring as an audition for a position at a higher level. Or, if he does start the year in Salem, don't be surprised if he makes his way up to Portland in a real hurry. He's not getting treated like a High-A prospect, so chances are he won't be one, at least not for long.

First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on ROOT Sports, if you have that, and in the likely event that you do not. Otherwise, just hang out on Twitter and wait for those Moncada at bats.