White Sox young infielder’s rough 2018 should be no reason for fans to panic and label him a bust so early in his career. A lot of room for growth remains.
Yoan Moncada had a disappointing 2018 season with the White Sox. If you listen to some fans, the sky is now falling and Moncada is a bust all because of one lousy year. Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox didn’t make many things better by winning the World Series this past October either.
Now, according to these same pessimistic individuals, the Sox surely lost their trade with the Red Sox in 2016 as Sale is a World Series champion and Moncada underperformed. Michael Kopech is also out for 2019 but that’s a story for another day. The real story here is the quick labeling of Moncada being a bust for the White Sox.
Yes, Moncada came close to setting the all-time record for strikeouts in a single season at the plate. There were also times where Moncada made errors on routine plays. Moncada also struggled at times to hit leadoff. The 23-year-old second baseman did have a season in which he wasn’t able to perform well consistently.
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However, its no reason for some Sox fans to panic just yet. Moncada didn’t set the world on fire and dominate MLB in 2018. He did show why its important for a team to not have just one top prospect but many young players that can become future stars when rebuilding.
The Sox have done a good job of stockpiling young talent over the last two years and Moncada’s struggles from this past season aren’t any indication that their rebuild is a failure. Just because a player struggles in his first full major league season, doesn’t mean he can’t rebound the following year and have success.
In 2018, Moncada finished the season with a .235/.315/.400 slash line with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs in 149 games. While the batting average was low, Moncada’s on-base percentage was close to average. What mostly kept his batting average low along with a slightly below average on-base percentage was his 217 strikeouts.
There were many games this past season where Moncada had three or four strikeouts at the plate. In the final month of the season, however, Moncada decreased his monthly strikeout total from 42 in August to 31 in September. Not a big decrease, but it prevented him from becoming the leader in single-season strikeouts.
In fact, September could have been Moncada’s best month of the season offensively. He hit .301/.369/.398 through 24 games. Moncada’s batting average never got higher than .274 in any other month of this past season. Although he had a disastrous start to 2018, he was able to finish his first full season in the Majors nicely.
Entering 2019, Moncada will have another year under his belt and the opportunity to bounce back from a forgettable 2018. Not every Sox fan is ready to label Moncada a bust this early in his career. There’s still room for Moncada to grow into a complete ballplayer. For the Sox, hopefully, its sooner rather than later.