“Today was a great day.”
That’s what Yoan Moncada told reporters following his career high six-RBI performance against Oakland on Sunday.
But it wasn’t just a great day for the struggling 23-year old. It was a great day for the White Sox rebuild - and a badly needed one at that.
“You’re going to see days like that,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria. “Obviously a little sign of what the young man can do.”
Moncada was seen working with White Sox hitting coaches Todd Steverson and Greg Sparks at an optional batting practice before Sunday’s game, and one of the things they have stressed to him recently is swinging early in counts.
Moncada did just that in the fifth inning, squaring up Paul Blackburn’s first delivery off the wall in right field for a bases-clearing double.
“I’ve been working on that since I was in Triple-A,” Moncada said through translator Billy Russo. “That’s something that’s in my game. It’s just a matter to execute it more often.”
According to Renteria, Steverson has been trying to convince Moncada to trust his eye saying, “if you do fire on a pitch, it’s probably a good pitch.”
He followed his double with a three-run home run against Liam Hendriks in the sixth inning, blowing the game wide open.
Two innings. Two extra-base hits. Six runs driven in.
“He had some really good at-bats, obviously in big situations,” said Renteria.
When asked if the outburst could be a turning point in his season, Moncada simply responded, “I hope so.” But he did admit to doubting himself and losing confidence in his abilities at times during his recent struggles.
“When you keep working hard, you can answer those questions,” he said. “Hopefully the good results are keeping for a long time.”
To say this season has been a roller coaster for Moncada would be an understatement.
Before Sunday, he had posted just a .588 OPS in the 40 games combined since coming off the disabled list on May 15th. White Sox fans had been hoping for more of the Yoan Moncada that posted an .877 OPS through the month of April.
If it’s any consolation, his manager seems to have the utmost confidence in him, saying Sunday’s game, “in general, this young man’s going to be a pretty good ball player.”