Yoan Moncada entered the season at or near the top of everyone’s list of top MLB prospects, so he should be well known to most of you. Moncada was the centerpiece prospect in the Chris Sale trade, an upper-tier middle-infield talent with on-base skills, outstanding speed and respectable power. He was a monster in the minors last year, slashing .294/.407/.511 with 15 homers and 45 steals across two levels. Moncada struggled in a September cameo for Boston (4-for-19, 12 Ks), but the kid is only 21.
To no one’s surprise, Moncada has been destroying Triple-A pitching over the past month at Charlotte. He’s coming off a week in which he went 11-for-22 with two homers, eight runs and five walks. His season slash is now .345/.419/.549. You might recall that he had a terrific spring as well, hitting .317/.391/.683 with eight extra-base hits.
However, strikeouts remain an issue for Moncada (34), and the switch-hitter has had very little success against lefties (.167/.302/.389). So the White Sox will certainly have a few reasonable talking points if they choose to leave him in the minors until he’s cleared the super-two hurdle. But he’s not blocked by anyone notable in Chicago, which means we’re pretty much guaranteed to see him before the break.
Whenever Moncada arrives, he’ll bring every-category fantasy upside and useful position eligibility (currently 3B, eventually 2B). He’s un-owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, still widely available for stashing.
• Since we mentioned the Sale trade, we should probably check in on Michael Kopech, the other blue-chip prospect who arrived in the deal. He enters Tuesday night’s start for Double-A Birmingham with a 3.00 ERA and 36 Ks over 24.0 innings. Command has been a longtime issue for Kopech, but velocity certainly is not a concern. He throws a zillion miles per hour, and he’s struck out 16 batters over his last two starts. There’s no reason to expect any sort of fantasy contribution from Kopech this year, so he’s strictly for the dynasty crowd.
• Cubs prospect Ian Happ spent a few days on the DL recently, dealing with a minor thumb malfunction. He’s gone 3-for-7 with a homer and six RBIs since returning on Sunday, so he seems to be more or less healed. Happ is now up to nine HRs on the year through 23 games, and he’s slugging .604.
• At last, we have arrived at the bullet in which I remind you that Phillies first base prospect Rhys Hoskins is raking. He leads the International League in homers (8), total bases (65) and OPS (1.083). He mauled Double-A pitching last season (38 HR, .943 OPS) and he’s had no trouble with the jump in level to Lehigh Valley. Meanwhile, Tommy Joseph is slashing .216/.271/.341 in Philly. Hoskins needs to be stashed in mixers.
• While we’re talking Phils’ prospects, note that Tom Eshelman made his Lehigh Valley debut on Monday, striking out six over 8.0 shutout innings. He’s a hittable righty, but he issues very few walks and the K-rate is tolerable (119 Ks in 120.2 IP last season). A name to file away.
• Braves prospect Kolby Allard has been dominant at Double-A Mississippi, piling up 28 Ks in 33.0 frames with excellent ratios (1.36 ERA, 0.97). The lefty is only 19, and already excelling at a high level. He whiffed 11 batters over 6.0 innings in his last turn.