Just like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez has much to learn in rookie season

As of Aug. 8, Yoan Moncada has reached 4 WAR according to FanGraphs. Tied with Houston Astros outfielder George Springer, Moncada is a Top-20 position player in the majors. A year ago, Moncada continued to show the same struggles that were witnessed in 2017: too passive, had trouble recognizing offspeed pitches, and was terrible hitting right-handed. 

Here are some of the results we’ve seen from the changes Moncada has made in 2019: 

  • Cut his K% by 5.8%
  • Increased his wRC+ by 37 points (2018: 97 wRC+; 2019: 134 wRC+)
  • Moncada has the third-best Average Exit Velocity at 93.0 MPH
  • Ranks in the 93rd percentile in Hard Hit %
  • Hitting .259/.312/.457 right-handed (.209/.287/.297 last year)
  • Moncada’s 4.0 WAR is the best season for a White Sox third baseman in the last 20 years. 

Oh, wait, there’s more. Look at the massive jumps in wOBA in just a single season against all pitch types. 

Pitch: Fastballs20192018
Exit Velocity93.9 MPH91.7 MPH
Pitch: Breaking20192018
Exit Velocity92.6 MPH89.4 MPH
Pitch: Offspeed20192018
Exit Velocity91.6 MPH87.5 MPH

An almost 100-point increase in wOBA against offspeed pitches in a season is astounding. Moncada is lethal against the fastball, and even though breaking pitches remain a weakness, there is a 51 point increase against the curveball and slider. Looking at his zone breakdown, you’ll see the locations where Moncada is hitting screamers. 

2019 Season
Source: Baseball Savant
2018 Season

Compared to 2018, you can see that Moncada is doing a much better job of barreling up the ball on the outside corner batting left-handed. There are two zones in which Moncada is averaging 99+ mph exit velocity: the outside corner and middle to the low part of the zone. Those spots are where Moncada has hit the most barrels (at least 98 mph, launch angle 26-30 degrees). 

2019 Season

Last season, Moncada was mostly just barreling pitches down the middle. 

2018 Season

In one season, we’ve seen Moncada go from a 2.0 WAR player hitting .235/.315/.400 to doubling his value thanks to a slash line of .301/.358/.535. The White Sox needed to emerge from this rebuilding phase developing elite hitters. They have found one in Moncada. 


It’s expected that Eloy Jimenez will be another elite hitter for the White Sox, but his rookie season has been underwhelming. Which is a nice way of putting it when you add his struggles at the plate adjusting to better pitching, and his adventures playing defense in left field. It’s just his rookie year, and perhaps there were too many expectations placed upon him without ever playing a game in the major league level, but Jimenez does have noticeable difficulties at the plate. 

To start, pitchers are still busting him with breaking pitches. Jimenez is seeing breaking pitches 39.7% of the time (Moncada just 27%), and his wOBA is .248 with a batting average of .202. The rate of breaking pitches has been decreasing since May, but now Jimenez is seeing more offspeed pitches as the league makes more adjustments against him. 

That could be a good thing for Jimenez who is faring better against offspeed hitting .259 with a wOBA .310. Now the reason teams are throwing more offspeed is it impacts how hard Jimenez hits those pitches. When Jimenez does make contact against breaking balls, his average exit velocity is 90.1 MPH. 

Against offspeed pitches Jimenez has a very low average exit velocity of 79.5 MPH. Even worse, the average launch angle is 0 degrees. Meaning that Jimenez is hitting slow grounders against offspeed pitches. 

That’s one way opposing pitchers are trying to limit Jimenez’s power bat. Another is pitch location. Any pitcher that challenges Jimenez up in the strike zone is flirting with danger. Jimenez has hit 10 of his 18 home runs on pitches located down the middle or upper outside corner. 

2019 Season

When you take a look at average exit velocity, launch angle, and the number of barrels, Jimenez’s weakness sticks out. Pitchers have a safe haven living in the lower third of the strike zone against Jimenez. Negative launch angles are ground balls, and his slowest exit velocity on pitches in the strike zone are in this area. No surprise that Jimenez is almost seeing one-third of pitches low and away. 

The three adjustments Jimenez has to make is learning how to develop harder contact on low pitches in the zone, be patient enough to recognize offspeed out of the hand, and try to lay off the low sweeping stuff outside of the zone. That’s all. Should be simple enough. 

Of course, hitting is never a simple task. No matter how some in the league like Moncada make it look easy at times. That wasn’t always the case for Moncada who had to grind for 203 games through his struggles before enjoying the tremendous success he’s having in 2019. Jimenez dominated at the plate throughout the minors, so there is no reason to think that this rookie season is his true self. It’s just part of the process of dealing with growing pains. Pitchers are learning how to keep the ball in an area Jimenez is not most comfortable making contact against. 

As Moncada has proved in 2019, a hitter can learn to develop better pitch recognition and how to produce more barrels. Jimenez still has some more learning to do in the last 50 games of the season. Hopefully, Jimenez can make the necessary adjustments to produce similar results like Moncada. If he can, it’ll go a long way to improving the White Sox chances to compete in 2020.

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Nice article Josh. I’m willing to wager that he will be able to make those adjustments at the plate and we may even see some strong progress on that in these next 2 months. From the limited at bats I’ve seen from Robert, it seems he is going to have the same issues, but unfortunately he’ll have to go through the struggles in a year where we could really use a strong OF contributor. The FO really doesn’t like learning and adapting based on past events.

Patrick Nolan

Another reason Robert should be up here ASAP. I seem to remember Eloy not having much problem with the “advanced offspeed stuff” at AAA. There can be just sooooo much to learn, and I feel like Jimenez has pulled off of so many low offspeed / breaking pitches this season that it’s ingrained into my mind as a core expectation when he comes to the plate (sorta like Alex Rios rolling over grounders to the left side in his lesser seasons).

karkovice squad

I’m partial to the Gordon Beckham popup to 1B/2B.

Patrick Nolan

We all torture our memories in unique ways.


Great post Josh. Unfortunately it just reiterates for me the sinking feeling this rebuild is doomed to fail.  With the front office making baseball decisions based on cost and player control instead of player development, I don’t believe they’re ever going to be able to bring up enough prospects that reach “Good Major Leaguer” before Moncada and Giolito reach free agency.  

There’s a segment of the fan base (And the front office?) that seems to think that all they need to do to compete is promote Madrigal, and Robert, and get Kopech back. Robert is likely going to struggle initially, Madrigal maybe less so because of his elite contact skills, Kopech is coming offTJS and has missed a whole season of ML development. It’s also entirely possible if not probable Cease needs another year before he’s even an average starter, much less above average. Ditto Jimenez. It took Moncada 1.5 seasons to figure it out.  They have to spend on good/great players in FA to open their competitive window. 

Unfortunately Hahn has shown no reason for us to believe he can identify and sign talent in FA to build a competitive roster. Furthermore, since they so badly bungled last off-season, they’ve only got one off-season and a weaker FA class to do it. 


He can sound like a real entitled prick when he wants to….

New Trier, Michigan, Harvard Law, Northwestern Business. Checks out.


I didn’t know about corrupt  Michigan (says this Illini)


Bottom line- Rick Hahn is a Tool

Trooper Galactus


Yup, I’ve reached that point.


Trooper Galactus

Just so I don’t come off as too negative: GO WHITE SOX!

But also, FRH.


Hahn has reached Paxson levels of stupid every time he opens his mouth. Dude already probably has his trophy room built and doesnt even see the possibility that he has done a poor job over SEVEN seasons of losing.

Win something before you get upset over twitter and blogs pointing out the roster defectiveness, bad mlb signings, mediocre or worse drafts, and up and down trades you have presided over.


Hahn should be a lot more concerned about the quality of the baseball team he is in charge of running.

Would anyone be surprised if we go 0-6 in these next six home games against Oakland and Houston? That, right there, should tell you where this rebuild is, almost three years into it. To one day have the “parades” that Hahn talks about, we’re going to have to get better than Oakland and Houston, not to mention the Yankees, Boston, Minnesota, Cleveland, etc., and possibly even Toronto (whose young top prospects seem to adapt to the majors much better than ours). And that’s just in the American League. We’re nowhere near most of the National League teams, too.

The only “parade” we can realistically talk about right now is the parade of people who should be following Hahn out the door once Reinsdorf does the smart thing and cleans house in the front office.

Lurker Laura

Twitter is the worst. Rick Hahn is an idiot. Both of these things can be true!


I share your concerns.

By the law of averages, the White Sox probably will have a division title by the year 2026. This division is not very strong, and it’s likely there will be some year when things go right for us, while not going as well for Minnesota, Cleveland and the others. Whether this division title results in a World Series victory is another matter. Is a rebuild a success if it results in one division title over 10 years without a World Series victory? I would say no, because odds are, in a five-team division, you should have TWO division titles over a 10-year span.

At the rate this rebuild is progressing, though, sometimes I wonder if we will even have one playoff appearance by 2026.


I’ll consider the rebuild a success if it results in more playoff contending seasons (within a game or two of the division) as under .500 seasons. The playoffs are a crap shoot once you get there, so I would say it can still be a success without winning a world series.

Of course, it sure would be nice to just make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the FIRST TIME in franchise history.


The White Sox have won at least one playoff series just once in the last 101 seasons. That’s a record for futility even the Cubs can’t match. And with the idiots we have in charge, who knows when they’ll win the next one.

karkovice squad

Nah. They need to win a championship with the talent they accumulated. There’s almost no reason to think they’ve adopted a sustainable approach rather than an extractive one.

The Sox “rebuild” was more like redecorating than renovating.


As long as they don’t win the World Series, then follow it up with 1 playoff appearance in the next 15 years.

Kelly Wunsch N' Munch

Baseball is fickle. I absolutely realize why there are concerns. The front office hasn’t given anyone the impression that they’re capable of rebuilding anything. The upper echelon of talent the White Sox have acquired is pretty good though. Expect half of them to work out. That’s being optimistic. The problem is the “second tier” of prospects. As per usual, there isn’t any depth. That’s why I would say the “rebuild” isn’t over. Is it ever honestly!? It’s baseball folks! Long, enduring, and the greatest! I wish my team was more competitive. Have a great day everyone!

The problem is the entirety of their overhaul depended on signing Robert under rules that don’t exist anymore, trading away their best veteran players for prospects who were 2+ years from realizing their potential, and repeatedly being at the top of the draft–which requires extended stretches of being bad.

They missed their opportunity to do in free agency what they did with Robert, acquire rare talents when facing limited competition for their services.

The continued lack of depth is because they’re way behind good teams’ ability to regularly acquire and develop talent without extreme measures. Without more dramatic organizational changes, they’ll have whatever success they get out of this crop of players then have to suck again for an extended period just to get back to this point.

How enjoyable an experience is it to be a Marlins fan?

Kelly Wunsch N' Munch

Everything you’ve said is pretty much on point. I could write a novel about the plight of being a White Sox fan. Kudos for one of the most relevant posts of all time!!! What’s even more sad is there’s actual fans that could run this team better. You’ve got to go to the top. The absolute persistence of ineptitude! Look at the Bulls. What’s the common denominator!?