Chicago White Sox Yoan Moncada providing hope that the rebuild is on track despite another year of losing.
Yesterday was a first for me. I left the Chicago White Sox game in the middle of the 8th inning with the Sox down 11-1. The only other time I can recall leaving a baseball game early was a Cubs game, which doesn’t really count for a White Sox fan. My excuse yesterday was 90-degree heat and a wife waiting for me to start a barbecue at home.
I left with a heavy heart wondering if the rebuild is not going so well after all. I mean they just started a pitcher, Dylan Covey, who was losing 5-0 after 5 batters!
Then I started putting things into perspective.
We still have not seen the best of Michael Kopech or Dylan Cease. Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn are making great and steady progress in the minors. Eloy Jimenez is back in the lineup, hopefully on his way to a 30 homer rookie year. I also remembered my favorite player Tim Anderson is having a breakout season.
Usually, we think of the team MVP as Jose Abreu since he is a 3 time all-star and an elder statesman. However, considering the tailspin the Sox have been on since Anderson went down, one can now argue that it is Anderson who makes the team go.
And what about Yoan Moncada? What about that guy who was supposed to be our prize for letting Chris Sale go?
I was reminded of a Bleacher Report article written by Jacob Shafer back in February where he ended with the words “Moncada is officially no longer the next big thing. Now he is at risk to become the next big bust”. Obviously, Jacob was only echoing what we all feared. Afterall, in 2018, Moncada struck out 217 times and committed 21 errors!
Well, I got news for you Jacob.
Yoan Moncada HAS ARRIVED BIG TIME!!!! As of the end of play Sunday, Moncada was first or second on the team in each of the following categories:
Games played – 2nd
Runs – 2nd
Hits – 1st
Doubles – 2nd
Triples – 1st
Home Runs – 2nd
RBIs – 2nd
Walks – 1st
Batting Average – 2nd at .301
BB – 1st
SLG – 1st
OPS – 1st
These stats speak to Moncada’s improved power, speed and discipline, especially the walks.
His play in the field has also improved tremendously, now that he is back at third base, his natural position. One bright spot in yesterday’s debacle was a play by Moncada in the 4th inning where he back hand stabs a hard hit ball, twirls around, and throws a strike to first, saving an extra base hit. It was the only bright spot in a long day of watching Twins cross home plate.
Taking into account Moncada is still only scratching the surface of his potential, it’s time we forget the bust talk and start wondering how many All Star games he has in front of him, whether he has MVP potential and will he be riding in the parade we are all hoping for some time soon on the South Side.