Private workouts for Moncada begin

Top Cuban infield prospect Yoan Moncada cannot sign with a Major League team until he is cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, but he has already participated in several private workouts for teams.

According to industry sources, Moncada, 19, has held private workouts for the Brewers, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, and Padres in Florida. The Dodgers, Rays, Cubs, and Phillies are also showing strong interest.

Moncada remains the most celebrated young prospect to leave Cuba since Jorge Soler, who signed with the Cubs in 2012. Moncada debuted for Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional at age 17 and hit .277 during parts of two seasons. He made a name for himself by dominating the 16-and-under and 18-and-under leagues in Cuba.

Because he is under 23 and did not play in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada is subject to the international signing guidelines. In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team’s record in 2013 for the international signing period, which started on July 2.

The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox along with the D-backs and Angels have all spent more than 15 percent of their allotted bonus pools and are in the maximum penalty range for the 2014-15 signing period. The penalty includes a 100 percent tax on their pool overage and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.

Moncada was granted his release from his Serie Nacional Cienfuegos team last year and later cleared by Cuba’s National Baseball Commission. He was granted a visa and a passport by the Cuban government and left on an airplane to Central America.

Moncada had a showcase for 60-70 scouts in Guatemala on Nov. 12.

– Jesse Sanchez

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