White Sox

Forget about it: Yoan Moncada's ability to play through mistakes

Forget about it: Yoan Moncada's ability to play through mistakes

Yoan Moncada could have mentally taken himself out of Friday’s game in the third inning.

The White Sox prized prospect booted a routine groundball in the frame, contributing to a long, damaging Royals rally. A few singles, a Tim Anderson error and five runs later, it seemed as if the inning would never end on the South Side.

Mercifully, the Sox were finally able to return to their dugout because Moncada refocused and refused to allow one physical error to compound. 

The skilled second baseman ranged up the middle to scoop a hard-hit Brandon Moss grounder, preventing any further damage. One inning later, he pummeled a two-run blast to center to give the White Sox the lead for good.

It’s that type of short-term memory that has impressed the Sox in his first major league showing with the club.

"I don't think he consumes himself too much in the mistake,” Rick Renteria said after the 7-6 win. “Maybe he's just thinking about what he's trying to do the next time."

Moncada’s quite polished for a 22-year-old infielder who hasn’t even played a full season in the majors. His athletic ability allows him to make the highlight-reel plays frequently, so now it's about continuing to work on his fundamentals. 

“He's really improved significantly since he's gotten here,” Renteria said. “Not trying to be too flashy. The great plays that he makes just take care of themselves. He's got tremendous ability.” 

Since being called up, Moncada has added value to what is the arguably the best second base fielding team in the MLB. Although no defensive metric is perfect, between Moncada, Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez, the White Sox second basemen lead the league with 19 defensive runs saved above average. The Pirates have the next highest amount of runs saved by second basemen with 10, according to Baseball-Reference. 

With the enormous range, though, comes the inexperience. In just 46 games, Moncada has tallied eight errors. 

"It happens to the best of them," Renteria said. "He's one of the young men, along with (Anderson) and even (Jose Abreu), who are looking to improve a particular skill, which is defending."

It serves as a reminder that the likely infield of the future still has a ways to go. 

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Tim Anderson prove himself the shortstop of the future?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Tim Anderson prove himself the shortstop of the future?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Tim Anderson has the full support of the White Sox and seems like a new man after a trying 2017 campaign.

But there are still plenty of questions surrounding him heading into 2018, putting him in the company of a lot of his teammates who are also embarking on "prove it" seasons on the South Side.

Is Anderson the shortstop of the future? For now, the obvious answer is yes, as the White Sox have seemingly placed their chips on the 24-year-old, who is signed through the 2022 season. Anderson will get every opportunity to show that he's the everyday answer up the middle for years to come.

But with highly touted prospects penciled in at seemingly every other position on the field, can Anderson keep up and meet the high expectations as the wave of talent reaches the big league level?

It's easy to forget that Anderson hasn't been a big leaguer very long. He's yet to play in 250 major league games. But his first full season — and more specifically the numbers he produced during it — have left some fans to wonder if an upgrade will eventually be needed at shortstop.

Anderson committed 28 errors in the field, the most in the majors by a pretty wide margin, and he slashed just .257/.276/.402, walking only 13 times compared to 162 strikeouts. His .679 OPS ranked 135th out of 144 qualified major league hitters.

That's not to say there weren't positive signs. Anderson made just six errors over the season's final two and a half months. And at the plate, he had a strong finish, slashing .323/.338/.474 with three homers, nine doubles, 13 RBIs and 23 runs scored in his last 32 games.

But in 2018, Anderson will have to prove which version is the real him: the one from the season's first few months or the one from the last couple?

Obviously the off-the-field circumstances that made their way onto the field had a lot to do with things. Anderson admitted that the emotional effects of the death of his best friend impacted his play. And that, of course, is understandable. He's seemed much different in interviews this offseason and during spring training. He said during SoxFest that "to get away from baseball was definitely the best thing to happen" and it allowed him to get to "a better place."

What kind of impact that will have remains to be seen. Anderson doesn't have to worry about one of these young guys coming for his job, as there isn't a highly ranked shortstop in the White Sox loaded farm system. But fans have been coveting Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado for years, and he's moved to shortstop for the 2018 season. He's set to be one of the headlining members of next winter's monster free-agent class.

So just like so many of his teammates — Matt Davidson, Nicky Delmonico, Carson Fulmer, Yolmer Sanchez and even Avisail Garcia — Anderson will have to spend the 2018 campaign (he'll get a little longer than that and longer than any of those guys, you would figure) to prove that he is a member, and in his case a starring member, of the White Sox promising future.

Sox minor leaguer's emotions on display while dedicating spring training hit to sister who died in Vegas shooting

Sox minor leaguer's emotions on display while dedicating spring training hit to sister who died in Vegas shooting

The White Sox are tragically connected to last fall's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Christiana Duarte, sister of White Sox minor league player Mikey Duarte, was one of 58 people killed at a concert in Las Vegas.

Duarte, who is in big league camp with the White Sox this spring, hit a double in Wednesday's 4-3 loss against the Padres. After the game, Duarte became emotional, dedicating his hit to Christiana.

"That was for my sister," Duarte said.

Duarte did not attend the concert due to a head injury he suffered in rookie ball. He said he is blessed to play baseball despite his injury and losing Christiana.

"She’s in heaven, watching over me and my mom and dad. I’m just very blessed by God to play this game after a head injury and after losing her.

"Knowing that my sister is with me more now than she was back then is helping me get through the days playing baseball."

Check out the video above to see Duarte's hit and postgame comments.