Dalier Hinojosa, unlike many, already has been exposed to Yoan Moncada.
Hinojosa, who spent 2014 at Triple-A Pawtucket after signing with the Boston Red Sox in October 2013, played one season in Cuba in which Moncada also played. The pitcher saw enough of Moncada, who reportedly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox on Monday, to know Boston landed a talented player.
“I always saw a lot of potential,” Hinojosa told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford through translator Adrian Lorenzo on Sunday. “He’s what we call a five-tool player here, and he was that back then. He can run, throw, he’s physical, hit from both sides, hit for power, hit for average.”
Moncada hit .277 with four homers, 28 RBIs, 21 stolen bases and a .388 on-base percentage in 101 professional games in Cuba. His skill set makes him a very intriguing player, though, as Baseball America’s Ben Balder suggested Monday that Moncada immediately becomes the top prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Moncada, who turns 20 in May, likely will spend 2015 in the minors. The switch-hitting infielder already has drawn comparisons to Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, so the sky certainly is the limit. Now, it’s about adjusting to life in the United States.
“My main suggestion to him would be to allow yourself to be guided, allow yourself to be coached,” Hinojosa told Bradford through Lorenzo. “Be adaptable and be accepting of wisdom from everybody. Because sometimes, especially some Cuban players, you think you have your own ways of doing things and you think it’s the only way to do things. I would suggest that he be coachable, be approachable, be accepting of other opinions or other people’s advice, when they get here.
“He’s got everything on the field. That’s not going to be his issue. Some guys can’t translate their ability because they think of the game in this stubborn way and that becomes an obstacle for them. I think he’ll be able to do that, no problem, but that would definitely be my suggestion to him.”
Hinojosa, now 29, still is awaiting his first major league call-up. He’s been around the game longer than Moncada, however, so his advice shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostInno