Well, the Chicago White Sox really needed only two innings Monday to prove that they can beat a minor league team.
The cold weather did not seem to prevent Cuban native Yoan Moncada from staying hot at the plate against the Charlotte Knights. He went 2-for-2 with a pair of sharp singles to right field in the White Sox’s 9-5 win.
Moncada’s ability to use the whole field will benefit him greatly in the majors. Although his power might not yet be fully developed, he will get plenty of hits through the infield because teams can’t put a drastic shift on him.
And wow, it’s not the regular season, but man, has Avisail Garcia been hitting.
He has the capability of driving the ball to any part of the ballpark; tonight, he chose left field, as in way over the left field wall. García’s two-run home run in the second inning looked like it came close to hitting a passing bus out on W. 4th St. — the ball was demolished.
The one-two punch of Moncada and García should create a good amount of RBI opportunities for bangers like Jose Abreu, Matt Davidson and Welington Castillo in the middle of the lineup.
And Adam Engel, yes, Adam Engel just looks like a different hitter. He still hasn’t yet proven that he can hit major league pitching at a .200 clip, but his spring performance has shown that his defense is not the only thing he wants to be known for on the South Side.
Engel added a pair of doubles in his two at-bats tonight, with an RBI and a run. He finished the spring batting .408 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. If Engel hits .240, he can be a valuable member of the 2018 club.
As for the arms tonight, Reynaldo Lopez still doesn’t have full control of his pitches. He walked three and gave up two hits. He didn’t give up a run, but was close, saved when Leury Garcia threw out Matt Skole trying to score from second in the second inning in what was been by far the most aggressive send by a third-base coach seen this spring.
Once Lopez figures out how to improve his command, he could become a nightmare to face, with his repertoire of pitches. Throwing strike one and eliminating the walks should be his focus this year.
The bullpen did a nice job closing out the game. Joakim Soria, Danny Farquhar and Nate Jones added scoreless innings, while Gregory Infante added two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run.
Juan Minaya and Aaron Bummer were the two major leaguers who did have some difficulties. Minaya gave up three earned runs on two hits and a walk in his one inning. Bummer went a third of an inning and allowed one earned run.
This was the final tuneup before the White Sox’s opener on Thursday — get excited. The team will have James Shields on the mound going up against Danny Duffy and the Kansas City Royals. It’s a 3:15 p.m. start, so get off work early and join SSS for one of the greatest days of the year!