Yoan Moncada has been named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year for 2016.
These days, Moncada is sitting on the bench in Boston and getting ribbed when he puts a ball in play in a simulated game after eight straight strikeouts. But if his (early) introduction to the majors hasn't exactly gone swimmingly, Baseball America is here to remind us of the fact that Moncada's second year in professional baseball has been a huge success.
You've all seen the numbers, from last year's strong second-half to the excellent Salem performance it set up, the even more impressive Portland stint that followed and, yes, the strikeouts that came with it and ultimately spiraled out of control in the majors. It all paints the picture of the phenom that the Red Sox were expecting when they dropped $31.5 million (and as much again in taxes) on him, albeit one who's still not fully formed.
BA highlights pitch recognition as the biggest challenge facing Moncada, and that's one that he's certainly now aware of. He'll probably get a couple more opportunities to see advanced stuff in the majors in low-leverage situations like we saw last night, but right now, with the Red Sox all about the playoff chase, they can't really devote at-bats to teaching their young star-in-waiting.
He will, however, get the chance to face some more off-speed stuff in the Arizona Fall League, starting on October 11th. Moncada's time might not be right now, but as the best the minor leagues have to offer, it's not that far off, either.