White Sox: Yoan Moncada Continues to Show Improvement Early in 2019
Former top White Sox prospect having a better start to this season than he did in 2018. The young infielder has adjusted well playing at third base.
Last season, on a chilly afternoon in Kansas City, Yoan Moncada looked uncomfortable right away – striking out on three straight pitches in his first at-bat of the season. The strikeouts continued, as Moncada struck out a whopping 217 times in 650 plate appearances (1 in every 3 at-bats). However, the sport of summer brings new sunshine for the White Sox and so far Moncada has been impressive.
Though the Sox ended Monday’s game at just 1-3, Moncada’s batting average is .413 through four games. This has left many Sox fans and writers hopeful that the first round talent is starting to produce as expected.
“[C]onsidering the first full year struggles White Sox fans saw Moncada go through in 2018, these are positive signs ” notes Vinnie Duber.
After a very successful first two games in Kansas City, Moncada spoke highly about his confidence at this early part of the season.
"“I am feeling good. I am carrying over the work I did in spring training. All the work I did in the off season in Arizona…it’s all paying off right now. It’s all in synch.” Yoan Moncada"
Since those first two games in Kansas City, Moncada has continued to be impressive at the plate. He’s batted .462 and .412 in the last two games, a victory over the Royals and a narrow loss to the Indians, with an RBI in each game.
Also impressive, Moncada’s defense – which was a question mark coming into the season after having been moved from second to third base during the offseason – has shined. In the season opener, Moncada charged and threw out two Kansas City hitters on difficult plays.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone else makes [those plays]”, notes Sox manager Rick Renteria. “And we’ve been saying that since spring training.”
Only four games into the season, Moncada’s development will continue to be watched and analyzed. It’s highly unlikely he’ll keep hitting around. 400 for the rest of the season and a Gold Glove is a high expectation, but the way he’s played thus far leaves Sox fans with reason to be optimistic.