Yoan Moncada has been everything the Chicago White Sox could have hoped for in 2019. The infielder is on the cusp of becoming not only the best player on the team, but one of the elite players in all of baseball.
The Chicago White Sox have felt the benefit of the Chris Sale trade they made back in 2016 with the Boston Red Sox as Yoan Moncada has become the player that they expected him to be when they acquired him as the headlining piece of that trade.
Moncada, still only 24, is having by far his best season, hitting .300/.356/.545 with 22 home runs and 63 RBI to give himself a 136 wRC+ and 4.2 fWAR on the year.
Part of what has fueled his success this season is his significant decrease in strikeouts this season, only striking out 27.8% of the time as compared to 33.4% of the time in 2018.
His increased power is also a major factor as to why he has improved so much in 2019. He has already eclipsed his home run total from last season by five in 48 fewer games and has only four fewer extra-base hits total this season.
While, yes, the entire league is seeing significantly increased power numbers across the board due to what many think is a juiced ball being used by MLB right now, Moncada has not even entered his prime yet which means he might have just progressed significantly in his development.
His former top prospect status, .075 increased in batting average this year, and reduced strikeout rate would suggest that Moncada is simply becoming a better player than White Sox fans were accustomed to seeing in his first two seasons with the club.
Defensively, he’s been a mixed bag, though, with -6 DRS in his first season playing third base since 2016 with Boston. However, he also has a 3.7 UZR at the position which would normally suggest he is actually above average at the hot corner.
Those numbers might leave a little to be desired, but with more time there going forward, Moncada could develop into a superb defender at the position.
Does Yoan Moncada still have some improvements to make before he can become a true star in this league?
Yes, and that largely relates to the need to continue reducing his strikeout rate.
That being said, Moncada is starting to become the special player the Chicago White Sox thought they acquired in 2016 and it might not be long before he is heralded across the league as one of the best players in the game.