With rumors swirling that the Dodgers are perceived to be favorites to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, Dodger fans probably find themselves in one of two camps.
The first is a group of folks who will forever endorse Cuban signings thanks to the success of Yasiel Puig — an expensive gamble that has, and will continue, to pay massive dividends to the Dodgers.
The second is a group of folks who, while acknowledging the success of Puig, point to the contracts handed out to Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena — two players that have yet to make an impact at the major league level.
Now, this isn’t to say that every Dodger fan fits firmly into one camp or the other, but simply put, most fans have their views shaped by one of the two opinions listed above. To all of you, I say this…
Yoan Moncada is different.
Yes, he’ll cost the Dodgers double what his contract is worth (thanks to a penalty tax), and yes his signing would mean the Dodgers couldn’t enter the international market to sign pool-eligible players for two years, but the truth is, this guy is worth it
Ben Badler, who writes for Baseball America, recently posted an article in which he asks the question as to where the 19-year-old Moncada would rank among the league’s top 100 prospects should he be included in the list. And, well, his player comparison might surprise you.
Ever heard of Corey Seager?
Badler says that while he personally values Seager slightly higher, he thinks Moncada is in the same ballpark:
For me, Moncada fits comfortably in (the top 15). I’m admittedly the high man on Dilson Herrera, who is one of the best hitting prospects in the game and tore up Double-A at age 20 with surprising power for his size. But I would put Moncada over him and Dalton Pompey, neither of whom have the power potential Moncada brings.
So Moncada is a top 20 prospect. But how high up that list should he go? Seager is my No. 6 prospect in baseball, and there isn’t any disagreement internally here that Seager is one of the game’s truly elite prospects. Players like him are easy to evaluate. Would it surprise me if Moncada ended up becoming better than Seager? Absolutely not. But when it comes to picking one of them right now, the greater certainty level in Seager puts him ahead of Moncada on my board.
To think that the Dodgers have the chance to sign one of the top 15-20 young players in all of baseball is unbelievable. Even if they only signed Moncada as a trade chip for a move sometime twelve months from now, consider what kind of value he could bring (just last season, the Oakland A’s traded No. 14 prospect Addison Russell to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel).
Better yet, what if the Dodgers kept him and formed an infield around Seager and Moncada for years to come? Last week, Keith Law of ESPN ranked the farm systems and graded the Dodgers as the No. 10 group in the league. While No. 10 as a unit, Law admitted that the Dodger trio of Seager, Julio Urias, and Joc Pederson (prospects No. 5, 9, and 28 respectively) was the best trio in the league.
Just imagine adding another top-20 prospect to that group.
The good news for everyone is that Moncada is expected to make a decision fairly quickly, having already had workouts with many of the teams interested. Now that he’s cleared to sign, the rumor mill won’t last long — so here’s to hoping it ends with a press conference at Chavez Ravine.
Dodgers Fanfest – Howie Kendrick