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White Sox give Yoan Moncada his turn

Todd Frazier trade opens opportunity for top prospect

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Yoan Moncada
Jim Margalus / South Side Sox

The White Sox are finally putting a dent in their suddenly vaunted farm system.

With the Todd Frazier trade opening up an everyday spot in the field, Yoan Moncada is coming to play every day.

“We're not bringing him here to sit,” Hahn said when he made the announcement Tuesday night. “We are bringing him here to continue the development that needs to take place in Chicago. He still has some work to do. He’s obviously still very young. But we feel that he’s ready for that next challenge that comes at the big league level.”

Moncada hit .282/.377/.447 with nine doubles, three triples and 12 homers over 361 plate appearances at Charlotte, with a 13.6 percent walk rate (which is good) and 28.3 percent strikeout rate (which is not). If you want to be a little more jazzed about this promotion, you can attribute some of his monthlong malaise to a bone bruise in his thumb.

  • Started: .352/.427/.544, 25.8% K over 143 PA
  • May 13-June 13: .143/.280/.234, 34.4% K over 93 PA
  • Since: .299/.405/.486, 26.4% K over 125 PA

But you can also look at that and interpret it as Moncada streaking, slumping, then settling into his normal production at this stage in his career. He hit hit .287/.395/.480 between three levels over his first two years in Boston’s system.

The good news? Moncada lowered his strikeout rate from the previous season despite jumping a level, and he also managed to even his splits after a dismal start against lefties.

  • vs. LHP: 216/.320/.420
  • vs. RHP: .308/.399/457

Defensively, Moncada might not have Yolmer Sanchez’s savvy at second base, but he’s shown an ability to make all the necessary plays in all directions, and for somebody whose motions were a concern entering the season, his mechanics look smoother than previous White Sox second basemen like Brett Lawrie and Micah Johnson. Getting a commitment to one position helps.

This will be Moncada’s second MLB stint, and the less said about the first with Boston last year, the better. He went 3-for-19 with a walk and 12 strikeouts for the Red Sox after a surprise/premature promotion, and he also played third base after handling second all season. It didn’t seem like a good idea for a few reasons, and it worked out as well as it deserved to.

Playing his preferred position and posting a lower strikeout rate against more advanced pitching, Moncada should be in better position to succeed. He shouldn’t be expected to dominate since his plate approach is far from ironclad, and even if he struggles at the onset, it’ll be a fine use of his time. Given the steadiness of his performance level to level, whatever’s left to learn will likely take place at the major league level.

Joining Moncada from Charlotte is Brad Goldberg, who will take one of the open bullpen spots for the time being (with Tyler Clippard taking the other). The question now is whether Goldberg’s spot will ultimately go to Reynaldo Lopez, whose next turn in the rotation comes Friday.