White Sox prospects providing excitement, showing glimpses of promise for last place team currently riding four game winning streak.
This past Thursday night it all came together for the White Sox. After a dazzling performance from starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, it was Yoan Moncada that stole the show late in the game against the Houston Astros. As he is finally starting to heat up, Moncada’s hot streak hit its climax in the ninth inning.
Moncada faced Houston’s closer Ken Giles, who had only allowed two lone runs since June 24 and had the best save percentage in the American League . With one out, no runners on, Giles delivered a 99 MPH heater that Moncada smashed into the left field bleachers. Moncada’s second career home run – an opposite field shot – tied the game at two and sent the game into extra innings.
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In the 11th inning with Leury Garcia on second base, Moncada stepped up the plate ready for more late-game heroics. Moncada laced a base hit passed the diving shortstop to send Garcia home for the win against the AL-best Houston Astros. A series sweep that was capped by Rodon’s 8 IP, 2 ER, 4 K, 0 walk performance.
Moncada extended his hitting streak to seven games on Friday and saw his batting average go from .100 to .215 in just eight games. In his last seven games, Moncada is 8-for-25 with two extra base hits, three RBIs, five walks, and has three multi-hit games. Moncada began Spring Training rather poorly but started to get red-hot towards the end of March. It seems that he is starting off his White Sox career the same way, which should be incredibly exciting for White Sox fans. His slash line for August is .391/.548/.565.
However, looking at the bigger picture, Moncada is just one of many prospects that are trending in the right direction for the White Sox. One of ‘Yo Yo’s’ teammates from Triple-A Charlotte is also in the middle of a very hot-streak. Newly arrived third baseman Nicky Delmonico has been making his case for a future role and it might be enough to convince more than a few spectators.
Friday against the Kansas City Royals, Delmonico went 1-for-3 with a single and extended his hitting streak to eight games. Delmonico has reached base safely in every game he’s played with the ChiSox, which makes 10 straight contests. That’s the longest streak a Sox player has had to start a career since 1932. Delmonico has also recorded at least one hit in nine of his 10 career games. Delmonico has three multi-hit games which include two three-hit games. His slash line with the Sox this season so far is .378 /.439 /.486, which is very promising from a player that many did not expect much from this season.
Another Knights teammate looking for a hot-streak is the White Sox second-most anticipated call up of the season. Earlier on Friday, the White Sox officially called up their sixth ranked prospect Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez has been utterly dominant in Triple-A posting a 3.76 ERA and striking out 131, allowing only 101 hits and 51 earned runs in 121.0 innings of work.
Lopez is the first of many pitching prospects to get the call up to the big leagues and has pitched at least five innings in his last eight starts. He’s only given up more than three runs once and more than five hits twice. Lopez has also struck out 63 in those 46.2 innings of work.
How did Lopez fare in his White Sox debut? The big right-hander dominated the Royals, with a by pitching six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs and recording six strikeouts. Lopez struck out five of the first six hitters he faced, and was also perfect through his first three innings of work. The only two runs he allowed were two solo home runs to Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Lopez did walk three but overall had an extremely promising debut. All eyes should be on him for his next start which is scheduled for next Thursday against the Rangers on the road.
The White Sox also have other young players at the big league level who are putting the future into perspective for them. Shortstop Tim Anderson has driving the ball very well lately, hitting .275 for the month of August. Anderson has smashed three home runs in his last six games, and he’s also gone 13 for 40 (.325) in his last nine games. Catcher Kevan Smith has also staked his claim for the starting catcher’s position, hitting .276 on the year and going 10 for 28 (.357) with two home runs and seven RBIs in his last eight games.
Lastly, Rodon has been improving and finding his groove with every passing start. According to a Tweet from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, “Rodon’s last 4 opponents: Cubs, Indians, Red Sox, Astros. His combined stats: 26.1 IP, 28 H, 9 ER, 5 BB, 35 K.” Merkin also tweeted that it was Rodon’s “third straight start of at least 6 2/3 innings with two runs or less allowed…” on Thursday.
So now that these young players are showing progress and beginning to shine, the organization and the fans should start feeling more comfortable with the direction the team decided to go to. With players like Moncada and Delmonico starting to heat up and Lopez beginning his promising career with the Sox, fans are finally beginning to get a preview of what to expect from what should be a very promising and bright future.