Yoan Manuel Moncada Olivera has long been hyped as the next big thing in Cuba during a distinguished amateur career. He was born May 27th, 1995. He’s a switch-hitter who primarily played third base in international tournaments as a youth, but mostly second and a bit of shortstop with Cienfuegos in Serie Nacional. There’s a good chance that he’s seeking to play in the US.
Detailed scouting reports are difficult to find, and I don’t have an accurate height or weight, but Moncada appears to be a premium athlete. He was named one of Cuba’s best young athletes in 2013. At Serie Nacional’s all-star skills competition last year, Moncada won for best home to first speed (3.48 s) as well as best time around the bases (14.15 s). Those numbers sound pretty ridiculous to me, and I’m not clear to me whether they included swinging the bat. It should be noted, though, that Moncada beat out Rusney Castillo, who was one of the best base-stealers in Cuba. For what it’s worth, his highlight video shows him looking very fluid in the field.
Yoan Moncada Stats
As a reminder, what I’m calling the 2013 season was actually split between 2012 and 2013. The “.5” designation indicates the second phase of the season, in which the top 8 teams advanced and played each other exclusively. Also, I’ve changed the way I’m designating age. Rather than using the MLB cutoff of July 1st, I have started to use January 1st. This makes things less confusing; I’m not forced to explain why Moncada was never actually 19 during his age-19 season.
Moncada played only a season and a half in Serie Nacional, which doesn’t provide much to work with. However, that he started as a 17-year old and hit above league-average in limited PA is very impressive. His swing looks line-drive oriented to my untrained eye; I would expect his power numbers to increase as he gets older.
Here’s a look at how he compares to recent defectors at the same age:
Again, not much to go on, but very promising. If and when Moncada makes it to the US, I expect plenty of interest; he may well push the boundaries of how much teams are willing to pay for any given player under the current under-23 international signing guidelines.