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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.
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.
???? Inside-the-parker. ???? pic.twitter.com/N9if93RiIE
— MLB (@MLB) May 15, 2018
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.
I suppose that's the way to describe him. pic.twitter.com/mGFjRoOVha
— Jim Margalus (@SoxMachine) May 15, 2018
And this is what Beckham looks like in general:
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.