Yoan Moncada

Red Sox Minor League Notebook: What has Yoan Moncada been doing at extended spring training?

Ryan Hannable
April 16, 2015 - 1:26 pm
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One of the most hyped players of Red Sox spring training isn't even on a minor league roster yet. Yoan Moncada is still in Fort Myers for extended spring training, as the 19-year-old gets settled into playing baseball stateside after signing a minor league contract that featured a $31.5 million signing bonus on March 12. The infielder hadn't played organized baseball since the end of 2013, thus needing more time to get back into the swing of things, as well as learn what it's like to play professionally in America. Reached via phone on Thursday, Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers broke down Moncada's start and praised his talent and athleticism. "He's getting more reps, getting comfortable identifying pitches and being able to repeat his swing," Hyers said. "Going through the process of working out with a lot of teams, it wasn't that day-to-day active action and facing live pitchers. It's making the daily adjustments and seeing pitches again and matching his AB's. Probably most of all is getting the feel back in the batters box, being able to have a consistent swing with what he wants to do with the baseball." Hyers worked extensively with Moncada during the first few weeks after he signed in Fort Myers. He was headed back down there Thursday to get another look at the 19-year-old sensation. "He's definitely a gifted athlete that has a ton of potential," Hyers said. "We're excited to have him and he's worked really hard so far. It's a big adjustment jumping into professional baseball. I think he was out for a period of time and he's he's getting accustomed to the daily work and process of becoming a major league player. They are really happy with him so far and excited to watch him develop." Things got off to a good start for him in game action, as he ripped a triple to deep right-center on one of the back fields at JetBlue Park in his first at-bat of extended spring training on Monday. Hyers said he could turn out to be a power hitter, or a guy who hits for average. He possesses traits for both and it's too early in his career to project. "I think he's got both in him," he said. "Right now, which one is going to be the better of the two? I think it's pretty early in his career. He's shown flashes of both so far." As for where and when he'll get his first taste of competitive professional baseball, there's no exact timetable. "I would assume possibly (Single A) Greenville," said Hyers. "I don't know -- that's for Ben [Cherington] and the guys up top to kind of watch him day-to-day and see what fits his development. I just know that Junior [Zamora] and Iggy [Suarez], our hitting coaches, have said a lot of positive things about him. Each day he's getting better and getting him accustomed to the day-to-day work. Getting his body back in shape, his hands back in shape, just swinging that bat on a daily basis. Where he's headed next month, I don't know, it's more for me just concerned about every day trying to help him understand what we expect." Added Hyers: "It could be any day. It could be a month, I'm not sure. There haven't been any discussions with me yet. It's been take it slow with him and make sure he feels comfortable and understands what we expect and how to prepare for the game." SWIHART'S CRAZY SPRING It was catcher Blake Swihart's second major league spring training, but after a good season with Double A Portland last year, he wanted to make a favorable impression this time around. Things got crazy when Christian Vazquez went down with an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery. Could Swihart make the Opening Day roster with almost no experience in Triple A? Would he be part of a trade for Cole Hamels? After the Red Sox traded for Sandy Leon, Swihart instead started the year with Pawtucket after playing just 18 games there last year. "I saw maybe a little bit more of a consistent hitter this spring and a guy that in my opinion did really well," Hyers said. "For him, heading into spring training and really not knowing what to expect with the situation that he was put into, I thought he handled things really well. Swihart is a guy that just comes to work every single day and he will do whatever you ask him to do. To me he's a guy that is fearless at the plate and a guy who plays with confidence. Loves to compete. A guy who has a bright future ahead of him." Swihart enjoyed his extended time in big league camp. "It was fun," he said last week. "I got to go in and build relationships there. Hopefully I made a good impression." Being one step away from the majors, it might be tempting to envision scenarios that lead to Boston, but Swihart is limiting his attention to what's in front of him. "Just wherever I am at, that is what I am focused on," said Swihart. "You just focus on that team winning." PROVIDENCE RED SOX? The PawSox ownership group held a press conference Wednesday detailing the plans for their new stadium in Providence. "If we're not in Providence, we're probably not going to be in Rhode Island," said James J. Skeffington, a PawSox co-owner, via the Providence Journal. In addition to the PawSox schedule, they would hope to play high school and college football games at the stadium, as well as concerts. This is what the stadium would look like:

SALEM RED SOX HERE TO STAY The High-A Salem Red Sox will be around for at least 10 more years, as prior to Thursday's home opener in Salem, Virginia, the city and the Salem Red Sox announced they have executed a ten-year extension of the lease of Lewis-Gale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark. The club'€™s four-year lease expired at the conclusion of the 2014 Carolina League season. This is the 25th season of professional baseball at the park. '€œThis is a great day for the City of Salem, the Salem Red Sox and, especially, our loyal fans, who have provided us with unwavering support since we took ownership of the club in 2008,'€ said Tim Zue, Managing Director of the Salem Red Sox and Senior Vice President of Fenway Sports Management in a press release. 3 STARS OF THE WEEK 1. Jackie Bradley, OF, Pawtucket -- In seven games this season, Bradley is hitting .371 with four doubles and three RBIs. Even more impressive is his .389 on-base percentage. 2. Brian Johnson, LHP, Pawtucket -- Johnson is carrying over his impressive spring to his first two starts of the minor league season. In two starts, he has allowed just one earned run over nine innings of work (1.00 ERA) and has 13 strikeouts. 3. Nick Longhi, OF, Greenville -- The Springfield, Mass native has shown off his power, belting two home runs in six games. Overall he's 8-for-24 (.333). He was drafted in the 30th round of the 2013 draft.
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