The Cleveland Indians announced Monday the acquisition of minor league infielder Andruw Monasterio from the Washington Nationals to complete the two clubs’ previous swap revolving around All-Star catcher Yan Gomes.
Just 21 years old, Monasterio completed his fifth pro season in 2018. He has logged innings at second, third, and short, but the two positions up the middle have been his primary residences on the diamond. It marks the second time in the span of four months that he has been on the move, as the Nationals had only acquired him in the back half of August as the return for veteran second baseman Daniel Murphy ahead of the waivers trade deadline.
An international addition by the Chicago Cubs out of Venezuela in 2014, Monasterio spent a year in the Venezuelan Summer League for the VSL Cubs and followed it with a season in the Arizona League in 2015. He climbed to the High-A level of the Cubs farm system last season, but he was dealt to the Nationals with a player to be named or cash for the services of Murphy for the final five weeks of the regular season.
The right-handed hitting Monasterio appeared in 109 games for Chicago’s High-A affiliate in Myrtle Beach, putting together a .263/.359/.336 effort at the plate with 14 doubles, two triples, three homers, and 31 RBI. One of those homers was a grand slam, part of a three-hit game against the Down East Wood Ducks on July 31. He had seven different three-hit games on the year and 24 more two-hit contests at the plate.
He appeared in just 13 games for the Nationals’ High-A Potomac club in the final month of the minor league schedule, but he hit .308 with a .404 on-base percentage in that small sample.
Monasterio has spent the offseason working in the Venezuelan Winter League for the first time in his career. Through his first eleven games while playing for Caribes de Anzoátegui, he has hit .161 with a homer and two RBI.
He profiles as a light-hitting middle infielder with a mindset for contact and line drives. In 349 minor league games, he owns a .265/.343/.336 slash with just six homers. A little speed in his legs lets him grab an extra base on occasion, as he has been able to grab two- or three-base hits every 5.5 hits. He has not been a major threat on the base paths, but he will pick off a base or two on occasion.
The defensive side of his game has the greater upside and will help any Major League aspirations that he has. He is considered to be above-average at all three infield positions that he has played to date in his minor league journey. He has a sound glove and a strong arm and is capable of getting the ball quickly to his target, both planted and on the run. He is said to be intelligent with both a good work ethic and strong leadership abilities.
Monasterio is not an unknown to certain portions of the Indians organization. He has spent the last three years playing against Cleveland affiliates in the Midwest League (Class-A Lake County) while with South Bend and in the Carolina League (High-A Lynchburg) while with both Myrtle Beach and Potomac. Rouglas Odor, who managed the Hillcats against Monasterio this past season and himself is a former minor league infielder for the Indians who was field coordinator of Cleveland’s academy in Venezuela for six years after his professional career ended, has spent a chunk of this offseason with Monasterio while serving as bench coach for the Caribes de Anzoátegui.
Photo: Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans