Milwaukee Brewers Workout Yoan Moncada
Over the past few years, the Milwaukee Brewers have been pretty active players on the international market. They signed five players in 2013, and last year gave 16 year old Gilbert Lara a club record $3.1 mil bonus. Jose Abreu received an offer of over $60 mil from Milwaukee, but instead signed with the White Sox. This year, the consensus top international free agent prospect is 19 year old Yoan Moncada of Cuba, who the Brewers have reportedly held a private workout with.
Moncada is a 6’2″, 200 lb switch hitter who has played shortstop, second base, third base, and center field in Cuba. In the 16U league in 2011, he hit .500/.643/.918 while stealing 15 bases, and he posted a similarly stratospheric line of .434/.543/.648 in with 20 steals in the 18U league in 2012. He’s played the last two years (at ages 17 and 18) at Serie Nacional, where he has posted marks of .283/.414/.348 and .273/.365/.406.
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In November, the young prospect worked out in Guatemala for MLB scouts, and to say he impressed would be an understatement. He worked out at every infield position, and the Brewers are especially thin on strong third base prospects in their system. According to an mlb.com report, Moncada graded out at:
If the Brewers were to add Yoan to the system, he would immediately become their number one prospect based on those ratings. He has the potential to become a true five tool player if he develops, a combination of power and speed that could be similar to Carlos Gomez. If Moncada could develop into a 20 homer, 20 steal player at third base in 3-4 years, he would no doubt be an attractive player to have.
Any team signing Yoan Moncada is going to have to make a significant financial investment for his services, and that’s where this signing likely becomes a pipe dream for Brewers fans. Moncada could command anywhere between a $30-$40 mil bonus, which would not only shatter the Brewers international record, but the MLB one as well. Cuban right hander Yoan Lopez, signed earlier this week by Arizona, currently holds the record at $8.27 mil. That financial disparity speaks to the type of talent scouts believe Moncada is.
MLB rules dictate that any team that spends more than 15% of their international bonus pool allotment is subject to 100% penalties on the overage, which further complicates the fiscal commitment for Moncada. That means that any team that signs him will have to nearly double their committment to cover the penaties. While a team can pay the bonus out over a period of three years, it has only one month after the June 15th to pay a lump sum to the MLB to cover the penalty. For a team that just shed payroll, shelling out $30+ mil in June for a player that won’t have an impact on the club for several years doesn’t make much sense. The Brewers also wouldn’t be able to sign any pool eligible players for the next two signing periods.
Moncada could be a once in a generation type talent, but unfortunately for the Brewers, they are unable to wield the financial might in order to sign him. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers have all shown interest, and all could easily afford to outbid Milwaukee for Moncada’s services. While it’s nice to dream, Brewers’ fans should try and refrain from getting their hopes up.