With all the talk about the glut of talent the Red Sox have in the outfield, people overlook the fact that there is a pretty large talent base in their infield as well.
Presumably, the infield, at least for now, is pretty well set. Mike Napoli at first, Dustin Pedroia at second, Xander Boegarts at short and Pablo Sandoval at third seem to be written in stone. So much so that Hanley Ramirez, who the Sox paid $120. million for five years, to get, has already been installed as the left fielder even though he has never played a major league game in the outfield. There was just no room for the three time National League All Star shortstop, with a .300 career batting average, in the infield.
In addition to the starters, the Sox have a pretty strong backup at every infield position with Allen Craig and Daniel Nava at first, and youngsters Mookie Betts at second, Brock Holt at short and Garin Cecchini at third.
Now, the Red Sox have apparently invested $63. million, $31.5 in salary and $31.5 in luxury tax penalties, in Yoan Moncada, another infielder. Although the Red Sox, at this time, have not released the fact that they have reached agreement with him, MLB.com has reported the signing. Moncada, from Cuba, who is just 19 years old, has been the subject of a bidding war with multiple other teams, most notably, the New York Yankees, trying to outbid each other for him.
The consensus is that Moncada is at least two, maybe three, years away from being ready for the major leagues. In fact, he may start as low as A ball this year, he has so little experience. All the experts seem to feel that he has the tools to be a super star as he matures. He debuted in professional ball at age 17, playing with Cienfuegos of the Cuban Serie National League, playing second, third and short.
He may not be a factor in the Red Sox pennant efforts for two to three years but he adds depth in the farm system that two or three years from now will serve the Red Sox well.
In the meantime, it looks like the biggest problem that John Farrell will have going into the season is finding a way to give his young players like Brock Holt, Mookie Betts and Garin Cecchini enough playing time while finding room on the roster for Henry Owens, Blake Swihart and other promising youngsters waiting in the wings.
Could 2015 be another worst to first year for the Red Sox? Don’t bet against them, particularly with the other American League East teams not looking anywhere near as strong as they have over the last decade.