McClung, a former pitcher who last played in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009, recently oversaw Moncada’s workouts after the Cuban prospect arrived in the United States. To say McClung was impressed by the Boston Red Sox’s newest addition would be an understatement.
“I played for the (Tampa Bay) Devil Rays, so we had No. 1 (overall) draft picks all the time. And he’s right up there with every single No. 1 I ever played with,” McClung told the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber by phone Thursday. “He’s somebody who would rival anybody in the United States as far as ability and being put together so completely.”
McClung was drafted by the Rays in 1999. He remained with the organization until 2007. Because Tampa Bay wasn’t very good during his stint with the organization, McClung had the privilege of playing with some highly touted prospects, including major league All-Stars Josh Hamilton (No. 1 overall in 1999) and Carl Crawford (second round in 1999). Yet Moncada, who turns 20 in May, still stands out.
“I know Crawford isn’t too well-liked in Boston, so I don’t want to equate him to Crawford,” McClung told Lauber, laughing. “But as far as just being so talented at 18, seeing Hamilton and Crawford come through, he has as much raw, God-given ability as any of them.”
The Red Sox have high expectations for Moncada, evidenced by the $63 million they shelled out to obtain his services. And MLB.com ranked Moncada the No. 9 prospect overall in Major League Baseball in the wake of him signing with Boston. But McClung’s testimonial is as strong as anyone’s.
Moncada is turning heads everywhere he goes.
Thumbnail photo via Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press
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