By now you probably know that Friday is Yoan Moncada Day. There is always some buzz in Fantasy circles when rosters expand on Sept. 1, but having the minors’ top prospect come up for the final stretch just adds to the level of excitement.
More often than not, September callups don’t justify the hype, so why should we go gaga over Moncada’s promotion? Even though the 21-year-old is just 44 games into his Double-A stint, there are several reasons. In a Fantasy landscape where steals can be hard to find, Moncada is a fresh source of swipes. Between the Eastern and Carolina Leagues, Moncada has stolen 45 bases this season. His pace slowed at Portland, but nine steals in 44 games is still promising.
Even more rare are players with power and speed, but Moncada checks that box, too. He took his power game up a notch at Portland, clubbing 11 homers in 202 plate appearances and posting a .262 Isolated Power. It’s not that easy to hit home runs at Portland, but Moncada hit six there in 28 games.
He also walks a lot. His 13.4 percent walk rate helped to elevate Moncada’s OBP at Portland to .388.
So did a .384 BABIP, and if there’s a caveat to be made, this is it. As indicated by high line drive and low popup rates, Moncada has made a lot of solid contact in the minors. However, the impact of that on his batting average and OBP could be neutralized going forward if he continues to pull the ball frequently.
Because Moncada has been striking out a lot, maybe he hits only in the .250s. To that, I ask, so what? He could still get on base at a decent rate and offer power and speed. He should get a shot at regular playing time at third base, or at least the bigger part of a platoon arrangement. Playing at third also provides his Fantasy owners with roster flexibility, given that he is already eligible at second base in many leagues.
I would at least consider Moncada as an option in 12-team Head-to-Head leagues, though I don’t consider him as a must-add there. In anything deeper, Moncada absolutely needs to be owned.