White Sox: Is this the Real Yoan Moncada?
Maybe Moncada will never be a good two-strike hitter. Is that the end of the world? Not really. Ichiro Suzuki for his career maintained a triple slash line of .311/.355/.402 for an OPS of .757. With two strikes he slashed .253/.286/.304 for an OPS of .590. Ichiro is one of the greatest leadoff hitters the game has ever seen. His two-strike weakness didn’t hurt him that bad.
So not being good with two strikes can be okay for a singles hitter, what about for a power hitter? Well, Giancarlo Stanton will most likely be the active home run leader in a few years. Only seven players in the history of the game have hit more home runs than he did through his age 28 season. What has Stanton done with two strikes in his career? He has seen his triple slash line decrease from .268/.358/.547 and a .905 OPS all the way down to a .162/.241/.324. That is a .565 OPS. That .565 OPS is .035 lower than the career OPS of the notoriously soft hitting Rey Ordonez‘s career OPS.
If Moncada is going to have issues hitting with two strikes, there’s a good way to help that. It’s pretty simple. Avoid two strikes. Moncada has done a much better job of that this year. Last year 372 of Moncada’s 650 plate appearances were two-strike plate appearances. That’s a 57.2 percent rate. This year 46 of his 87 plate appearances before Monday were with two strikes. That is a 52.8 percent rate.
If a player is going to struggle with two strikes, that player limiting plate appearances with two strikes is a great idea. Going forward he may be able to limit his two-strike plate appearances even more and make that smaller amount of plate appearances more productive. Also limiting two-strike plate appearances will, of course, decrease the potential for strikeouts.