Tyler Saladino

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. 

Reynaldo Lopez makes best of outing despite White Sox poor defense

Reynaldo Lopez makes best of outing despite White Sox poor defense

Reynaldo Lopez’s defense didn’t do him any favors on Wednesday night, but he managed the situation as best as possible.

The White Sox rookie starting pitcher limited the red-hot Cleveland Indians to a run despite four misplays behind him in six innings. Lopez earned his team’s lone atta boy of the night from manager Rick Renteria for his ability to overcome lousy White Sox play in a 5-1 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field. Even though he had to pitch with additional traffic courtesy of a poor defense and it ran up his pitch count, Lopez somehow managed to keep the White Sox within striking distance.

“Even though the numbers were still good he did better than that,” Renteria said. “We should have caught the ball on more plays. It would have allowed us possibly for him to get a little deeper, but he had to make more pitches because of those miscues. We talked to our guys about that. The physical errors don’t bother you as much what precipitated them. Is it lack of focus? What is it? We had to deal with those truths also. We dealt with those today. It will be a great lesson to get better. Those kids want to do very, very well. We say it every day. They’re not looking to fail, but today as far as (Lopez) is concerned, for what he did his numbers could have been better.”

Lopez rarely got any breaks in his fourth start of the season.

With one on and one out in the first, Matt Davidson misplayed a slow roller that went right through his legs into a two-base error. But as he would many times on Wednesday, Lopez sharpened his focus and escaped the inning with a pair of pop outs.

[MORE: Why elite prospects Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez could force White Sox to abandon patient approach

An inning later, Tyler Saladino couldn’t cleanly field a grounder up the middle -- it would have gone for an inning-ending double play -- and Tyler Naquin turned it into a double. Lopez didn’t let it bother him as he struck out Roberto Perez with a changeup and induced a foul out off Francisco Lindor’s bat.

However, Lopez didn’t escape unharmed. Carlos Santana singled off the glove of Nicky Delmonico to start the fourth inning and Alen Hanson couldn’t find the handle on Yandy Diaz’s grounder, which also went for a single instead of a double play. Lopez issued a walk to load the bases and Naquin followed with a sac fly for the only run the pitcher allowed. But Lopez struck out Perez again and retired Lindor to limit the damage.

In spite of a high pitch count, Lopez collected himself and pitched two quick innings to get the White Sox through six. Lopez held Cleveland to a run and six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a 102-pitch effort.

“I just say they are going to have good days and bad days and they are going to make some mistakes once in a while,” Lopez said through an interpreter. “I believe in them because I know they are trying to do their best, not just to help me but for the team and themselves.

“How did I keep my focus? Just working on executing my plan. That’s the way I did it.”

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

The trade deadline passed on Monday and all was quiet in the White Sox clubhouse.

While nearly every other team in baseball furiously attempted to make last-minute deals before the 3 p.m. (CST) nonwaiver trade deadline, the White Sox remained silent. Though there had been a few rumblings of possible moves the past few days, none surfaced involving White Sox players on Monday.

And for the first time since the All-Star break there was a relative sense of calm within the clubhouse. Monday’s tranquility was not the byproduct of a decision by the White Sox front office to stand pat but rather because of the flurry of trades Rick Hahn completed the previous 17 days. Those five deals removed involved seven members of the White Sox 25-man roster and has had players living with their heads on a swivel for almost a month. After one final trade sent Melky Cabrera’s trade to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the remaining group was admittedly happy to see the deadline pass.

“It was tough,” third baseman Matt Davidson said. “Just everybody. You didn’t know what was going to happen any day. It was so random.

“It’s kind of nice that it’s over and for the most part this is going to be the clubhouse for the rest of the year.”

In all likelihood, this will be the White Sox roster the rest of the season.

There could be a few additions in the way of Triple-A players who are promoted. Rick Renteria reiterated on Monday that some of the club’s top pitching prospects are close to arriving in the majors. There also could be a few more subtractions if a contending club found one of the team’s veteran pitchers to their liking.

But the bulk of the White Sox roster has already been systematically ripped apart through a series of trades.

“It always happens so fast,” infielder Tyler Saladino said. “(Sunday) Melky was just walking through giving people hugs. Blink of an eye, something else happens. But you’re five minutes away from team stretch so you don’t really have time to think about it. You just say your goodbyes and your well-wishes and move forward.”

“You process it, but it’s not a lengthy process.

“Everything happens pretty fast around here.”

The upheaval of the 25-man roster began July 13 with a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs. Five days later, the White Sox packaged Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson in a deal to the New York Yankees. Anthony Swarzak followed them on Wednesday when he was traded to Milwaukee. Dan Jennings was traded on Thursday to the Tampa Bay Rays and finally Cabrera was dealt to Kansas City on Sunday.

Now the White Sox are left with a roster full of inexperienced parts, including a bullpen that includes only one pitch from the Opening Day roster (Jake Petricka). The loss of so many key players will unquestionably lead to some trying times over the final two months of the regular season.

“It’s a good chance for those guys to get some experience,” Saladino said. “But it can be challenging because we’re very young at a level of game that requires a lot of experience.”

Once surrounded by a veteran crew, Petricka and newcomer Tyler Clippard are the only relievers with more than one year of service time. Petricka likened the massive turnover as something similar to when a series of moves is in made concurrently in the minor leagues. But, he also contends that the last two weeks has been different.

“I haven’t been a part of something like this,” Petricka said. “We’ve just got to prove it. It is a great opportunity for everyone. We’ve just got to go out and do our job and show we all belong and we all know we do.”