Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is quickly becoming one of the most hyped amateurs in history, and it’s expected that he will absolutely shatter the record for an amateur player — international or domestic — according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan spoke to a pair of GMs and two other executives, and all four agreed that they expect the 19-year-old Moncada to land an incredible $30-40MM bonus.
While that bonus doesn’t necessarily seem steep right off the bat, at least when juxtaposed with the commitments made to countrymen Yoenis Cespedes ($36MM), Yasiel Puig ($42MM), Jose Abreu ($68MM) and Rusney Castillo ($72.5MM), bear in mind that each of those players was viewed as a professional under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and therefore was not subject to international spending limitations.
Moncada, on the other hand, will be subject to spending limits, but executives that spoke with Passan still seemed to believe the price tag could approach $40MM. That would obliterate any team’s bonus pool, and a signing team would have to pay a 100 percent luxury tax on all overages (in addition to subsequently being prohibited from spending more than $300K on a player in the next two signing periods). In that regard, then, a team would essentially be dropping $60-80MM to add Moncada to its farm system, based on the range Passan received in his poll of execs.
As Passan notes, Moncada has yet to be unblocked by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control or Major League Baseball, so the timeline for his arrival on the free agent market is uncertain, but the timing of his arrival is critical. If Moncada isn’t declared a free agent until next year’s signing period (the current signing period runs through June 15, 2015), the Angels, Yankees and Red Sox would not be able to sign him, as the penalties they’ve incurred prevent them from signing a player for more than $300K in the next two signing periods. If he’s declared a free agent in the current signing period, the Rangers and Cubs, who exceeded their bonus pool in the 2013-14 signing period, would not be able to sign him.
Nearly every team was on-hand today in Guatemala to see a Moncada showcase, although Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that the Angels weren’t there to see him (they’ve seen him in the past, Fletcher notes).
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke to multiple scouts who were on-hand, with one scout giving Moncada a 60 hit-tool, 60 power, 70 speed, a 60 arm and a 50 in terms of fielding (on the 20-80 scouting scale). A scouting director told Mayo that Moncada is “worth going way over your international spending pool,” adding that the game is ultimately about talent, and Moncada “is the kind of talent worth the investment.” Another touted his five-tool potential and said he was in great shape. Mayo hears that Moncada looked better at third and second than shortstop, though he has the arm to play any infield position. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves and Cubs all had four or more scouts in attendance, per Mayo.
Those wishing to learn more about the potential phenom can check out this report on him from Baseball America’s Ben Badler penned back in August.