White Sox: Yoan Moncada and Avoiding The Sophomore Slump
White Sox young second baseman had a solid final month of 2017 season. Can that success translate well into 2018?
Chicago White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada had a lot of hype surrounding him at the start of last season. After being acquired as part of a trade with the Boston Red Sox during last offseason, Moncada began 2017 with Triple-A Charlotte. His debut with the Sox on July 19 was met with a lot of excitement from fans.
Moncada got off to a slow start with the Sox but he was able to turn that around in the final month of the season. Despite hitting .188 on Aug. 24, Moncada’s strong September increased his average to .231 to end his first season on the South Side. Moncada hit .274/.343/.463 in the last month of the 2017 season.
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Although Moncada had a nice final month last season, can he avoid a sophomore slump with the Sox in 2018? The Sox aren’t expected to contend this year as many fans already know, but Moncada’s development is crucial to the success of the team’s rebuild.He is one of many talented young players currently on the team.
Moncada will need more development at the plate and defensively this upcoming season. One area of concern for Moncada are strikeouts. Last season, Moncada had 74 strikeouts at the plate. In his first promotion to the majors with the Red Sox in 2016, Moncada had 12 strikeouts in just 19 at-bats for Boston.
While Moncada often struggled with strikeouts, his plate vision allowed him to get some walks. Moncada had 29 walks in 2017 and a .338 on-base percentage. Another positive for Moncada in 2017 was his ability to get extra-base hits. After hitting just three home runs in his first month with the Sox, Moncada had a power surge in the final month of the season. Moncada hit five home runs in the final month of the season to go along with 11 RBI’s.
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An area for growth with Moncada this season could be on the basepaths. Moncada has decent speed but only stole three bases in 2017. The Sox should be more aggressive with Moncada which should allow him to steal more bases in 2018. Moncada will also need to work on defense at second base as he committed eight errors through 54 starts last year. The Sox have a good player in Moncada, but he will be put to test this season as he will play his first full year in the majors.