White Sox Grade Book 2018: Analyzing the middle infielders
The White Sox middle infield in 2018 was manned with young players who are on their way to greatness.
The two White Sox every-day middle infielders are still learning their respective positions, as both only have limited time in the MLB. Despite both having less than three seasons in the Big Leagues, they were able to hang with some of the best in the game.
Tim Anderson actually set a record for his performance at short stop. And, his double-play partner, Yoan Moncada set his own records as well (although not necessarily one to write home about).
Anderson played 151 games at short stop. During those games, he because the first Sox short stop to join the 20-20 club. He hit 20 home runs and stole 26 bases. His 2018 slash was .240/.281/.406. Offensively, he was not the best short stop in the league, but he well above average.
Of qualifying AL short stops, he ranked fifth in home runs, second in stolen bases, and eighth in doubles. Sadly, the 25-year-old short stop had more strikeouts than any other AL short stop.
But, Anderson’s 149 were small potatoes compared to Moncada’s AL-leading strike out numbers. Overall, the Sox need to lower that stat in the 2019 season. Moncada has 217 strikeouts, putting himself well above every other second baseman. To illustrate how many K’s Moncada had, the second-place finish belonged to Niko Goodrum with the Tigers who K’d 132 times.
On the positive side, Moncada – who played in 149 games – did have his best slash of his short career. He hit .235/.315/.400. Of AL second basemen, Moncada ranked fourth in doubles (32), tied for second in triples (6), and tied for fifth in home runs (17). He also stole 12 bases. If he can get those strikeouts under control, the kid has some serious upside.
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Defensively, the pair of infielders both have satisfying numbers. Anderson is fun to watch at short stop because of his range and speed. MLB rated his range at 3.84. Of short stops who played more than 100 games, Anderson ranks third behind Andrelton Simmons and Marcus Semien. Anderson had a fielding percentage of .967 due to 20 errors – Semien had the same number of errors, but a slightly higher FP of .970 because he played in a few more games. Anderson was involved in 72 double plays.
Moncada played in the most games at second base in the AL. His range was 3.68, which wasn’t near the top of his position. But, remember, he played through hamstring pain throughout the season. He did lead the AL with 21 errors, and he finished third with 80 double plays.
Like his work with strikeouts, Moncada needs to get those errors down and his range up. After an off-season where he can take care of his legs, his defensive numbers should improve.
If Moncada and Anderson stay with the Sox, they could become an iconic double-play combination. Some of the best double-play combos in the MLB have come from the AL Central. Most experts agree that Tigers Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell are the best to ever work together. And, Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar weren’t too shabby either. In the near future, maybe Anderson and Moncada will become household names in the AL Central for their work in 6-4-3 outs.