White Sox: How critical is development of Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: Yoan Moncada
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: Yoan Moncada /

White Sox infielders development will be crucial to the success of team’s rebuild. What should fans expect for both players in 2018?

For the Chicago White Sox to ever become serious playoff contenders, they will need to be strong up the middle. Currently, there is a pair of men who man that area of the infield and will do so for a while. They are shortstop Tim Anderson and second baseman Yoan Moncada, who has the potential to be one of the best keystone combinations in the sports. How critical is it? Let’s take a look.

All you have to do is look at the previous two World Series winners (Cubs 2016, Astros ’17). When the North Siders had Addison Russell and Javier Baez tracking down balls hit back through the box, it makes things significantly easier for a pitching staff. Fast forward to last season, Houston may have been running out two of the best players in the game in those two spots, that being Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve.

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Think about sports as a whole. Great teams are built from the middle out. Particularly, each play in baseball begins on the mound, where the pitcher throws the ball to home plate. Another reason for this is that these positions demand the most range, just due to the amount of ground they need to cover. Outside of catcher and pitcher, the other three defenders up the middle need to have the range or you will be giving up runs at a higher rate than you would otherwise.

So, let’s talk about Moncada and Anderson now. Both are very raw, with unlimited talent in the former’s case. On the flip side, while Anderson may not ever become a superstar at his position, it would be irrational to say he cannot at least make it to the level of an Alexei Ramirez caliber shortstop.

Moncada is a different story from Anderson. Given he has a long way to go, his ceiling is that of a Robinson Cano-type second baseman, however with more speed. If that becomes the case, Moncada would arguably be one of the best players in baseball. But, we are basing this on potential, and he has a significant amount of development left before that occurs.

Now, why is this so critical to the White Sox future? The answer is simple, an elite keystone combination will provide defensive support, not to mention the two we are talking about have the potential to become great hitters. If the Sox could have anything close to what the Astros have they should be set for a long time, especially if Anderson becomes a leader at shortstop.

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All in all, the Sox have one of the brightest futures in the game. Certain parts of player development will test any fans patience, but remember this rebuild will not take place overnight. Some prospects will get injured or fail to live up to expectations, however, the vast amount of talent the Sox recently accumulated should insulate them as the process moves forward. While it may take longer than originally planned, the purpose is to create a roster that wins long term. If that happens, baseball will be fun again on the South Side. For the first time in years, Sox fans.