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The White Sox season has gotten off to a rough start. After going  3-3 in their first six games, they currently sit at 4-8. Things have not looked good over the past week, and if it wasn’t for Matt Davidson salvaging the home-stand finale with some late inning heroics we could easily be talking about a team with a 3-9 record. When a team struggles, fans begin to point fingers, and put under performing players in the spotlight. This time around there is one guy who is drawing lots of attention from Sox fans, and that would be none other than Yoan Moncada. Now arguably the centerpiece of the rebuild and Chris Sale trade should be held to a high standard, the White Sox organization gave up a future Hall of Fame pitcher in order to bring him and some other highly touted prospects in, but we’re not here to evaluate the trade. What we are here to discuss is the development of baseball’s former number one prospect.

Let’s point out a few things out right here from the start. Yoan Moncada is 22 years old, and he has only appeared in 74 Major League Baseball games. That is not even half of a full season in the Majors. So, let’s take a look at some stats.

Standard Batting – Yoan Moncada (Career)
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2016 21 BOS AL 8 20 19 3 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 12 .211 .250 .263 .513
2017 22 CHW AL 54 231 199 31 46 8 2 8 22 3 2 29 74 .231 .338 .412 .750
2018 23 CHW AL 12 57 49 6 9 3 0 1 3 0 0 8 24 .184 .298 .306 .604
Career 74 308 267 40 59 12 2 9 26 3 2 38 110 .221 .325 .382 .707
162 Pace 162 674 585 88 129 26 4 20 57 7 4 83 241 .221 .325 .382 .707
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2018.

If you take a look at the bottom row, it shows what things would look like for Yoan at his current pace through his first 162 Major League games. A few things jump off the page right away, and the first being the unsightly amount of strikeouts. While the overall pace of 241 would be a record setter in the absolute worst of ways if this was actually one complete season, it is a fairly safe bet that he will not reach those levels through his first 162 games. It is also fairly common to see an alarming number of strikeouts from a young developing star. We only need to take a short trip across town to see Cubs third-baseman Kris Bryant’s rookie line with 199 of them in his Rookie of the Year campaign, a number that Bryant cut down to 128 last season. The fact of the matter here is, even though Bryant and Moncada aren’t exactly thought of as comparable players, as a top prospect develops into a REALLY good if not great player, there is an adjustment period. This is not the same Moncada at age 22-23 that we will have at age 26.

The second thing that jumps off the page here is the RBI production. While being on pace for 57 is not terrible, we would expect a little bit more from someone with as much raw power as Moncada posses. Some of this can be attributed to where Moncada has been used in the order, at least early on in 2018. Renteria currently has Moncada batting lead-off this year which isn’t exactly a great spot for getting consistent chances to drive in runs, however he spent time all over the order during the second half of 2017. If you look even deeper, his production with runners in scoring position (RISP) and Men on Base in his first 74 games look more like the culprit.

Yoan Moncada – Batting with Runners on Base (Career)

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
RISP 54 80 68 28 11 4 1 0 14 10 37 .162 .288 .250 .538
Men On 64 124 107 33 19 4 2 2 19 15 56 .178 .290 .308 .599
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2018.

Yoan will need to improve his hitting with runners on, and it is likely that he will. It is going to take time and adjustments, but as his strike out numbers go down, and Yoan adapts to the league these numbers will improve as well.

What these stats seem to point to is a young ballplayer who is still trying to gain confidence playing at the Major League level. The fact that he has yet to even play in a full seasons worth of games is justification enough to say that he is still a work in progress. White Sox fans should take a step back on judging Yoan until he actually gets a season or two worth of games under his belt. We all remember this guy don’t we?

beckham2.jpg
(Gordon Beckham)

So let’s give the former Top Prospect in all of baseball the benefit of the doubt and let him play out his developmental year(s) while the White Sox are not expected to be winning, without booing him out of Chicago. You never know, he might just lead this team to a World Series in a few short years.

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