Yoan Moncada rewarded your patience in Oakland

Big series reminds everybody of his talent

Yoan Moncada entered the Oakland series in a tailspin of sorts. He was hitting .184/.298/.306 with a strikeout rate of 42 percent and rising.

All it took Moncada was one big series at the Coliseum to get him back to where he was last year. He went 5-for-14 with two homers, a double, two walks and three stolen bases.

The lines:

  • 2017: .231/.338/.412, .327 wOBA, 104 wRC+
  • 2018: .222/.329/.429, .337 wOBA, 114 wRC+

This three-game stretch has an underbelly, in that Moncada struck out in five of those 17 plate appearances, and he’s whiffed at least once in 12 straight games. (Then again, I’d argue that a 29 percent strikeout rate is aspirational for him.) He also faced three right-handed starters, so it played in his favor. He’ll come home to face Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers in the Houston series. Two talented righties sandwiching a Cy Young-winning lefty is a lot to handle in a series, and it could set him back if they’re able to capitalize on his flaws.

Moncada’s season is bound to be uneven, and that’s a difficult thing for certainty-starved fans to handle. His game right now leaves things to the imagination, and that imagination can carry the ball in the wrong direction when the Sox are adding a 10th year to the postseason drought.

But Gordon Beckham could not pull the ball in the air as majestically and violently as Moncada can.

He similarly reaffirmed in Oakland that he can take advantage of batteries that can’t hold runners, and that his athleticism extends to defense.

If you had to trace the leading source of dissatisfaction with his game, you can pretty much quarantine it to his performance against left-handed pitching. He’s hitting .261/.358/.522 against righties, which is an All-Star level of production. He’s hitting .118/.250/.176 with 10 strikeouts in 20 plate appearances against lefties, which is late-stage 2017 Adam Engel.

If the White Sox could treat Triple-A like simulated games and have Moncada come to bat seven times a game versus a left-handed pitcher, they might be tempted to send him down for a spell. But when you see him pull off a series like he did against Oakland, where he provided regular reminders of his league lead in exit velocity and put his speed to optimal use, it shows what the Sox are thinking: He’s too talented to make meaning of the minors.

So his struggles are going to have to play out in front of everybody, with the hope that batting him leadoff is a way to get him the most reps in the shortest amount of time. Assuming Moncada hovers around this level of production, it’s then up to fans to realize that Moncada’s athleticism allows him to be a rosterable and startable despite glaring gaps, and at Moncada’s age and experience level, that’s superior to needing multiple iffy areas to break the right way just in order to be average.

Tim Anderson’s doing what he can to help.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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.

Articles: 3710
54 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Trooper Galactus

Moncada market trending upwards. BUY! BUY! BUY!

MadManx

To be a average regular with his baserunning and defense he needs to hit, what, at a 90 w/rc+ clip? He really is at 114 with a 40% k rate… So he’s got some runway

GrinnellSteve

I thought the catch he made in extras, over the shoulder running down the right field line, was an even better play than the one in the 9th.

Greg Nix

He made a very hard angle look routine. 

PauliePaulie

“Late stage 2017 Adam Engel”- Damn, Jim.

PauliePaulie

Fangraphs posted their first Mock draft.
1) Mize
2)Bohm
3) Madrigal
4) Swaggerty
5)Kelenic

Josh Nelson

patrickcroberts

To repeat someone’s Q from yesterday, who would you want right now for the Sox pick? Swaggerty?

Josh Nelson

Casey Mize is the dream, but he’s not dropping to #4.

I’ll admit there are two sides to me when keeping track of the draft: Trying to understand the White Sox drafting patterns to see if there are clues on who they will pick out of this class, and my own opinion. My thoughts on what the White Sox should do is not aligned with how the White Sox operate. Thus, when writing and discussing the draft on the podcast, it will be the viewpoint of guessing what the White Sox will do because I’m not Nick Hostetler, and I think it’s a more beneficial conversation trying to guess what he is thinking vs. what I would like my favorite baseball team to do.

With that said, I think the White Sox will make their pick out of these three: Bohm, Madrigal, and Swaggerty. I like Madrigal and Bohm more than Swaggerty.

I’ll have a post on Bohm and Swaggerty this weekend. If the technology gods are on my side, I’ll have Madrigal, too.

—————————–

If I were in charge of the draft, my strategy would take the best college SP available at #4, and take the best middle IF in Round 2.

Eagle Bones

This seems to be the read from Longenhagen and Kiley as well (re: Madrigal, Bohm or Swaggerty). I was actually kind of pleasantly surprised to hear them in on Madrigal. Part of me thought even if he was there they might not be in on him.

MrTopaz

It’s looking like my business class ticket on the Nolan Gorman hype train may not have been a wise investment, although Fangraphs seemed to think pro level conditioning could get him back to looking like a guy who can stick at the hot corner. And man, whither De Sedas? Poor kid must be dropping like a rock.

Josh Nelson

Tonight is Liberatore vs. Gorman. If that hype train is going to get back on the track, today would be the day.

lil jimmy

DeSedas is just not hitting. That’s on him. Gorman is hitting, they are just nit picking him. Better to sit for 2 months (Madgrigal) and watch your stock go up.
Please, no Swaggerty.

Eagle Bones

I got the impression from what I read that Gorman’s issue isn’t really a conditioning one (i.e. it’s not bad weight). He’s just a big kid.

PauliePaulie

Saw that. Hate his lower half.
I think he gets that power with a long stride and back leg dip that will have to be fixed to make it in pro ball.

I understand I’m against the industry on this one. But I think he keeps the swing flaws and can’t make contact. or fixes them and becomes a very avg. OF prospect.

Eagle Bones

If he fixed it, how is he average? Aren’t we talking about a guy with above average power playing CF?

Josh Nelson

Yes. He just needs to work on remaining balanced through his swing. A reason why I buy the White Sox being on Swaggerty is because of his performance with Team USA over the summer. In 19 games, he hit .328/.449/.406 with 6 SB.

PauliePaulie

IMO- He gets that power by overstriding and dipping his back leg. So if he stops doing that, the power goes.

Without the above avg power (for a CF) he becomes an avg defender with avg. speed best suited for 4th OF/LH Bench bat.

Trooper Galactus

An average defender with average power and average speed in center field sounds suspiciously like Blake Rutherford.

PauliePaulie

I believe Rutherford develops enough power to play in Left. He’d be a well above avg. Glove with Melky Cabrera circa ’11/’12 hit tool.

Eagle Bones

I’ve yet to see anyone who thinks Rutherford will be an average defender in CF.

PauliePaulie

Meanwhile, Bohm has had a power outage and errored in 4 straight games.

Eagle Bones

Still hoping for Madrigal, but I’d be ok with 2-4 I guess. After Madrigal and Bohm are off the board, I could be convinced on a bunch of guys.

Patrick Nolan

Top baserunners in baseball so far per FanGraphs:

1) Tim Anderson
2) Yoan Moncada
3) Billy Hamilton

Greg Nix

Tim also currently has the best SB% in MLB history for anyone with as many career attempts.
comment image

jorgefabregas

I’m wondering what Moncada has done in terms of first to thirds, tagging up, etc that have him basically on par with Anderson, even though Anderson has more stolen bases and the first to home scamper on a single. I guess Moncada has been on base more times and has had more chances.

Josh Nelson

I’ve been thinking about Moncada and Anderson hit 1-2 in the lineup. Not completely sold on the idea but if Avi is not hitting, maybe the lineup is ready for a small shuffle.

Greg Nix

I’d try Sanchez or Leury in the 2 spot before I’d move up Anderson.

Eagle Bones

Yeah I’m not in a rush to move Anderson towards the top of the lineup. Leave him where he is and let him do his thing. If you want to move him up a spot or two, I’m ok with that, but I don’t think I want him 1 or 2.

zerobs

I’d try Delmonico and then Sanchez. The Garcias don’t have the plate discipline.

ndsoxfan

I’m a fan of Moncada followed by Anderson 

Greg Nix

Annnnd Baseball Savant just put up their Sprint Speed leaderboard for this season.

2. Engel
9. Anderson
14. Avi (?!)
50. Moncada

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sprint_speed_leaderboard

mikeyb

In his career, he only has 88 ABs against lefties, so it’s obviously still small sample size territory. But at some point (maybe after 2018), I wonder if he’d consider just batting left-handed all of the time. With his speed, that advantage of a few extra steps to first base could easily add a few more infield singles to his collection. It would make him an even more deadly threat to bunt for a base hit, which would draw the 3B/1B in an extra step, giving him another advantage.

Obviously, the upside of being a great switch hitter is enticing, and I wouldn’t want them to just give up on that already. But I do wonder how long they go before thinking about it.

MrTopaz

Isn’t it conventional wisdom that if a team has a lhp who’s any good, they tend to move him quickly, so switch hitters end up facing comparatively less challenging lefties as they move through the minors, making the jump to facing MLB lefties that much more jarring? Maybe that’s not conventional wisdom, but I know I’ve heard it somewhere, and I find it pretty convincing. At any rate, while “make a change if it’s not working for you” is generally smart thinking, I gotta guess we’re a long way off from Yoan following that philosophy.

Greg Nix

Much too soon for that, as you say. He was serviceable, if not spectacular, against lefties in the minors.

2017: .219/.311/.387
2016: .243/.371/.379
2015: .310/.381/.570

Right Size Wrong Shape

He still has a lot of refining to do, but I’m starting to feel like there’s something special about Tim Anderson.

Lurker Laura

I love his base running, if nothing else.

Steinscribe

He’ll never be worth what we gave up for him as Chris Sale is on a Hall of Fame trajectory, and that tinge of regret likely biases me when I watch him, but doing well against Oakland’s pitching isn’t exactly redeeming to me. I’d rather wide the wave with him not hitting lead off for now.

NateDPT12

It wasn’t just him straight up for Sale though. With him and Kopech, plus Basabe (Who’s tearing the cover off the ball in Winston-Salem) and Diaz. They could potentially make out really well in that trade.

Greg Nix

And Moncada by himself COULD justify it. It’s very possible he becomes a 6-win player. He’s in the 2-3 range right now, with some pretty glaring flaws that should improve (at least marginally) over time.

Eagle Bones

We’re also talking about, what 7 years of Moncada vs. 3 of Sale?

zerobs

On total WAR, the White Sox might come out ahead in the trade.

Reindeer Games

A 4 win season in playoff contention is worth more than a 6 win season during a season in which the team wins 76 games. I don’t see why people never remember this.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, while it’s better to have one 6-WAR player than two 4-WAR players, for a team that had a serious problem with negative value guys sucking up playing time on a regular basis, I’ll take the higher volume over the higher quality.

Gutteridge70

Sox had no choice but to trade because of Sale’s antics …. Drake LaRoche & Sale scissorhands forced them to trade him. September Sale was his usual self for the Boston in September and October of 17. I am glad he was traded and hopefully the Sox will come out ahead with Moncada and Kopech in the coming years

Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

EV 95+ mph is the magic number for White Sox.

PauliePaulie

Sox trade Saladino to Brewers. Acquire Trayce Thompson from the A’s.

Eagle Bones

I’m assuming leury now becomes the primary infield backup? If so, I like these moves.

PauliePaulie

No clue.
My first thought was Trayce takes Cordell’s spot in Charlotte and Rondon comes up.
Can never have too many Rondon’s.
Maybe Ricky wants a 9 man ‘pen.

NDSox12

Trayce doesn’t have minor league options, which is why Oakland DFA’d him in the first place. He’ll definitely be in Chicago this weekend.

ndsoxfan

Garcia is better than both

evenyoudorn

He’s looked messy on defense. If he was hitting like pre-injury 2017, that would be one thing. 

evenyoudorn

Don’t be distracted by all the window dressing.  Jake Elliott is relieving AF.  Move over Kopech.  Move over… DJ Carrasco?