In front on an audience that included influential Cuban legend Luis Tiant, the Red Sox introduced budding superstar infielder Yoan Moncada to reporters at JetBlue Park on Friday. The 19-year old phenom hopes that it won't be too long before fans at Fenway Park get a firsthand look at him.
“My goal is to make it to the big leagues in a year," Moncada told reporters, via Red Sox international scouting director Eddie Romero. While his aim to make an impact in the big leagues sooner rather than later was clear, Moncada also seemed to realize that this journey may take a bit longer.
“I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field and playing baseball,” Moncada said on launching his career in the big leagues according to The Boston Globe's Alex Speier. “It's been so long... I want them to see me as a dedicated teammate and a good guy."
Getting to this point was not easy for Moncada, who has not seen his family for nine months and counting. The high-priced prospect got emotional when describing the role agent David Hastings played in getting him to the cusp of the major leagues. Moncada said Hastings was “like his father” to him in Cuba.
"It was tough overall being the first time going through something like this,” Moncada told reporters. “[The] Red Sox [are a] great organization and players... [I'm] looking forward to the opportunity to play for the Red Sox. Most of all, [I'm] looking forward to getting on field."
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says that the team hopes Moncada can experience “something he hasn't in several months: baseball normalcy,” according to Speier.
Moncada said before process began, he'd never gone more than a week without seeing his family. He's now gone 9 months without seeing them— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) March 13, 2015
“This has been an atypical scouting and signing process for an atypical talent,” Cherington said. “[Moncada is] one of the few most talented 19-year-olds in the world.”
Moncada is a natural second baseman, but can play multiple positions. Even though the Red Sox have second baseman Dustin Pedroia is under contract through 2021, Cherington confirmed the Cuban star will “probably” be at second to start camp.
There was an outside chance that Moncada – who had private workouts with around 11 teams – never landed in Boston, as the Yankees were in the bidding mix right up until the end.
“It was tough deciding,” Moncada said, according to Speier. “At the end of the day, I appreciated the attention and plan the Red Sox set out for me.”
Once Moncada settles into a routine in at the club's complex in Fort Myers, Cherington said Moncada would probably start his Red Sox career in Single-A Greenville.