When the Chicago White Sox left Minnesota they boarded the plane with some extra drip. All members of the team were dressed like they were about to star in one of Yoan Moncada’s music videos with vibrant colors, bomber jackets, and chains as far as the eye can see.
Yoan Moncada is one of the most important pieces on the Chicago White Sox.
That’s because the theme for the trip was Yoán Moncada. While his teammates were just trying to have a little fun with their third baseman, the theme was well deserved. Yoan Moncada has been just what the doctor ordered for the middle of the lineup on this road trip. When Jose Abreu went down with an injury the White Sox needed someone to step up and produce runs. Moncada has served as the stabilizing force in the three-hole.
In the first game of the series vs. the Twins, Moncada notched three hits, scored three runs, and drove in a pair. He even added a walk for good measure. In the second game of the series, he drew a walk in the first inning. Then he lined an RBI double into right field scoring Jake Lamb in the third.
In the series finale, his presence was felt once again. He drew a two-out walk in the first inning, ripped a single to right field in the fourth inning, then drew another walk in the fifth. With that walk in the fifth, Moncada tied a franchise record for eight straight games with both a walk and a hit. Frank Thomas is one of the five players to ever accomplish that feat in a White Sox uniform.
This is no isolated incident either. This season, Moncada has doubled his walk rate to 15.7%. Over his last nine games, he has a .571 OBP with 10 hits and 10 walks. His .407 OBP on the season leads the White Sox. Moncada being patient and drawing walks is a great sign. He is seeing the ball really well and destroying pitches in the strike zone.
For the season Moncada is slashing .286/.409/.414/.824 with the highest line drive percentage of any hitter in baseball. His batting average does not do him justice for how well he has been barreling the ball this year. He has recorded 17 outs this season on batted balls over 100 mph. The expected batting average on those outs is .502.
As the weather is heating up, so is Moncada. In the month of May, his average exit velocity is 95.4 mph. His hard-hit rate is 55.6%. His chase rate is also down to 19 % as it was 22.1% in April. He ranks16th in the league in WAR and is batting .298. The power numbers haven’t been there yet but he still has nine doubles which is tied for first on the team. His 25 RBIs rank second on the team behind Jose Abreu and his 40 hits rank third.
While his offense is getting all the attention he has also been a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman. He showed off some impressive running throws in the series vs. Minnesota. According to FanGraphs, Moncada ranks second in defensive runs saved among all qualified third basemen.
He also leads all qualified third basemen in UZR, which measures arm plus double play runs above average, range runs above average, and error runs above average. His 2.0 UZR is just a fancy way of saying his glove has been really good at third base.
The international pop sensation has been getting it done in both aspects of the game. With the trajectory he is on this season, we are watching Moncada blossom into a star before our very eyes. He is proving that 2020 was a fluke and that 2019 should be the expectation, not the rule.