Yoan Moncada’s absence less noticeable in National League parks

The White Sox actually have infielders to spare, which is weird to say for a 10-27 team

Yoan Moncada returns from the disabled list today for the start of the second of two two-game series against Pirates. This one’s at PNC Park, which means that another productive hitter will have to sit, at least assuming Moncada starts in his first game back.

If Moncada could’ve picked the timing of his injury the way players can strategically drop appeals to suspensions, it probably would’ve been best to cover consecutive series in National League stadiums. Matt Davidson and Yolmer Sanchez simply refuse to cave in to larger sample sizes, so the Sox are capable of fielding a major-league infield despite Moncada’s absence, and the DH spot comes in handy.

Not to say the Sox are fine without Moncada, because even if there’s no DH spot to feel a pinch, pressure also shifts to the leadoff spot.

2B 3B DH No. 1
May 5 Garcia Sanchez Palka Garcia
May 6 Rondon Sanchez Davidson Garcia
May 8 Garcia Sanchez Davidson Garcia
May 9 Garcia Sanchez Abreu Garcia
May 11 Sanchez Davidson n/a Delmonico
May 12 Rondon Davidson n/a Engel
May 13 Sanchez Davidson n/a Engel
Line .233/.233/.267 .385/.433/.808 .167/.312/.250 .241/.267/.276

Leury Garcia dragged both the the first and last columns down by going 3-for-16 with no walks or extra-base hits over the first four games. Sanchez went 1-for-4 with both of his starts at second, and he’s hit safely in each of his nine starts this month. Adam Engel improbably gave the last column a boost. He’s now batting .280/.357/.360 over his first 29 plate appearances this May, just when the Sox had run out of all other reasons to play him.

The White Sox lineup is a whole lot stronger with Moncada, obviously, but the injury didn’t mean a whole lot to the week’s worth of action he missed because he can’t pitch. The White Sox staff posted a 6.79 ERA in his absence, allowing a Moncada-like line of .267/.374/.461.

The Sox’ infield depth is enviable by comparison, and it came to mind when watching Tyler Saladino hit his first homer for the Brewers on Monday. Good for him, and bad for A.J. Pollock, who messed up his thumb on the play.

It also came to mind when seeing FanGraphs’ most recent mock draft, which sends Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal to the White Sox with the No. 4 pick.

4. Chicago White Sox – Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
The White Sox had their scouting director, GM Rick Hahn, and president Kenny Williams at the Mize/Singer matchup three weeks ago, and Singer has emerged as one of their preferred options here. That said, we’ve been told Madrigal is the guy they’ve wanted for over a month, and they’ve been on Swaggerty all spring in the event Madrigal doesn’t get here.

The White Sox already have three legit starters for two infield spots when there isn’t a DH to use as a release valve, which makes it a curious time to add a top-five pick to the three-year scenario. However, it’d be premature to even call it one of them good problems, because Davidson and Sanchez still have to prove they can hold up over the course of a full year. If the Sox take the best player available and it leads to the best-case scenario, the Sox will have options, but they’ll have to choose wisely.

* * *

Other second baseman news:

*Gordon Beckham took Robinson Cano’s place on the Mariners’ roster, and this is what Beckham looks like to markets who never invested time and energy into him.

And this is what Beckham looks like in general:

https://twitter.com/megrowler/status/996193695387938817

Beckham went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his 2018 debut.

*Jake Peter is hitting .281/.349/.386 for Triple-A Oklahoma City, which is what his production in Charlotte might have looked like in a ballpark that wasn’t so conducive to home runs. There isn’t one reason to bring this up, but he looked like a potential breakout candidate entering the season and I hadn’t checked on him.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Otter

I’m stepping on pnoles corner, and hopefully he won’t send Chris and Snoop after me, but I decided to have some fun with xwOBA!

Hopefully this formats okay:

xwOBA 2017 2018
Matt Davidson 0.308 0.450
Yoan Moncada 0.315 0.401
Tim Anderson 0.272 0.314
Yolmer Sanchez 0.284 0.310
Adam Engel 0.232 0.265
Leury Garcia 0.295 0.263

I’m rethinking my rethinking of Yolmer after looking at this.

Otter

It didn’t, but hopefully it’s readable.

Amar

More work for you I guess, but could you add the observed wOBA (ie wOBA) for 2018?

Greg Nix

You could also look it up yourself! https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/expected_statistics

Amar

Great, thanks!

Josh Nelson

Seattle should trade for Yolmer Sanchez.

asinwreck

That makes all kinds of sense for the Mariners, but what would they give up that would make sense for the White Sox? Is there anyone in the system aside from Evan White, Kyle Lewis, or Sam Carlson who might contribute to the next good White Sox team?

Josh Nelson

Depends on how valuable you think Yolmer Sanchez is moving forward?

Greg Nix

At this point, I’d rather have Yolmer than a B- or C+ prospect who might turn out to be as valuable as Yolmer.

Josh Nelson

Well I forgot about Dee Gordon. He can play 2B.

asinwreck

Mariners said they’re keeping Gordon in CF.

Greg Nix

Let’s see how much Gordon Beckham it takes for them to change their mind.

yinkadoubledare

They should play both Gordons at 2nd and have no centerfielder!

Seems they’re ahead in Gordons Above Replacement now, perhaps the GAR foreman? *ducks tomatoes*

Trooper Galactus

I’m just waiting for the Seattle FO to tell their fans how he’s turned a corner. #BSOHL

lil jimmy

Sam Carlson would be nice!

gusguyman

I have no idea what kind of return Yolmer could get, but the only other prospect in their Top-10 that interested me was Braden Bishop. Plays a good defensive CF, has hit well and is in AA (although slow start this year). Buuuut we already have Tilson, Engle, May, Cordell, etc so Yolmer is still a better fit for us probably.

Trooper Galactus

Charlie Tilson: .541 OPS in AAA
Jacob May: .570 OPS in AAA
Ryan Cordell: .334 OPS in AAA (and injured)
Adam Engel: .515 OPS in MLB

None of these guys should block anybody who can be an even remotely fungible center fielder.

Milky✌️

“Cromulent” fits better

lil jimmy

“succulent?”

Trooper Galactus

Yes, it was not appropriate for this situation. I think Milkohol nailed it with “cromulent”.

GrinnellSteve

Ass-kickin’ is the word.

zerobs

Let them have Leury Garcia.

Greg Nix

This I could probably get behind if they sent back a guy who could pitch 5 innings without embarrassing himself.

As Cirensica

No…let’em have Beckham. Yolmer should stay here

tommytwonines

“Joint” drug agreement apparently is nothing of the kind. 

Trooper Galactus

Seeing Engel in the leadoff position has given me new doubts about Renteria’s capacity to manage a contender, which is not a welcome feeling right now.

Patrick Nolan

Trooper Galactus

Encouraging, though that comment about Davidson’s line against non-Royals opponents is a bit disconcerting.

Patrick Nolan

Or not disconcerting at all. There’s nothing about opposing players wearing a uniform that says “Royals” that magically makes Davidson better.

But even if you don’t believe that, we still play them 19 times per year, and those games count.

Trooper Galactus

Well, given the Royals have arguably the worst pitching staff in the league, it does give me pause. Bumslaying is all well and good, but he can’t be the same old Matt Davidson we’re used to 140 or so games out of the year.

Otter

Imagine what Davidson could do against the Sox staff…

Patrick Nolan

Look at Jim, casually dropping The Wire references.

However, it’d be premature to even call it one of them good problems,

Patrick Nolan

The best part of this whole schtick is that I have no idea whether you’ve ever seen The Wire or not. I think it’s better that I don’t know.

sgp2204

Moncada’s absence might be less noticeable in National League parks from an on the field perspective, but from an observers perspective, it’s EXTREMELY noticeable. This team is borderline unwatchable right now even with Moncada; take him out of the lineup, and you’re probably better off just changing the channel.