Down on the Farm: Checking in on AA Portland

Photo from the Paw Sox Twitter

Ryan MacLeod (RyanMacLeod15)
Contributing Writer

It must not be easy to be the top two prospects in an organization. It must be even more difficult when you both joined the team around the same time. You are in a constant battle to outdo the other. But at the same time, it appears that Yoan Moncada, and Andrew Benintendi have developed a relationship that is working well for them to push each other to be the best player they can be.

Moncada signed with the Red Sox in 2015, and Benintendi was the Red Sox first round draft pick in 2015. The pair of 21 year olds, one that was an international free agent signing, and Benintendi, drafted out of the University of Arkansas have been together almost every step of the way. Moncada played 81 games in Greenville, the low A team. Benintendi started out in Lowell before getting promoted to Greenville where he and Moncada first met. After they both impressed their teammates, Moncada getting to play with the major league club in spring training, they were both sent to high A ball in Salem. This is where both players started to push themselves, they were the clear stars of the team and after just 34 games Benintendi was promoted to AA Portland. For Moncada, it took a little longer, but after 61 games in Salem he also got the call up to AA Portland where he currently plays.

Since being called up both Moncada and Benintendi have performed well. In 35 games Benintendi is hitting .268 with 22 RBI's, 20 runs scored and has hit 3 home runs. Through 5 games Moncada is hitting .333 with 4 RBI's, 6 runs scored and has hit one home run. Defensively they both have not committed an error, Benintendi in 272 innings and Moncada in 45 innings.
Photo from the
Paw Sox Twitter
On Sunday I was able to go to a game in Portland and I had one thing on my mind. I wanted to see the guys that the scouts had rated so highly. Both were impressive, Benintendi went 3-4 with a double, two singles, a walk, 2 RBI's and 3 runs scored out of the three hole. Moncada went 2-5 with two runs scored and two strikeouts, one swinging and one looking out of the leadoff spot.

Moncada was extremely impressive on the bases. After a leadoff single on the first pitch of the game, he drew 4 pickoff attempts by the pitcher before another throw home. After moving to second on a HBP he then drew 2 more step off by the pitcher before Benintendi brought him home when he hit a double. In the fourth inning Moncada scored easily from first on a double to the right center gap. What would have been a close play at the plate with most runners, Moncada's speed didn't even draw a throw from the cutoff man. Moncada was also impressive in fielding second base, making a nice play charging a ball to throw out a quick runner in the late innings of the game. He also attempted to start a 4-6-3 double play providing a perfect feed to his shortstop who then threw the ball in the dirt that the first baseman could not catch to turn two. The only criticism I had with Moncada was the fact that in all five of his at bats he swung at the first pitch he saw. In the first at bat it lead to a single, but it appeared to be a habit that he did not want to break.

Benintendi was impressive both in the field and at the plate. The 3-4 performance speaks for itself and then the walk also showed his patience at the plate, falling behind early, then working his way back to a 3-2 count before walking. In the first inning with runners at first and second he fouled off multiple pitches on a 1-2 count before hitting a rope to the right center field gap to bring home both runner. In the field he did not have to move very far to make the three outs that came to him, but he did show off his arm keeping runners from advancing.

It is pretty obvious why these guys are the Red Sox top prospects, and if anyone calls to inquire about them the front office should hang up the phone on them. Benintendi has been linked with talks of being called up to the Major League club to play left field due to all the injuries that have plagued the outfield. It feels more likely that he will be a September call up. Moncada likely can use some more time at AA before time at AAA later this season. I would not be surprised to see both of these guys putting up a great fight for a spot at the 25 man roster in spring training next season.

Have you seen either Benintendi or Moncada play? Were you impressed with them? When should they be called up? Leave a comment below or tweet me by clicking here.