Any notion of instant gratification for the White Sox took a couple blows this weekend.
Everyone knows this rebuild is nowhere near complete, with much of the team’s projected future roster still developing in the minor leaguers and contending still a couple years off. But the dual excitements that accompanied Yoan Moncada’s promotion to the big league roster and Nicky Delmonico’s smoking start to his major league career were slowed with both youngsters hitting the disabled list during this series with the visiting Detroit Tigers.
Now, because of the well-known timeframe for the rebuild, there is no panic in the streets over Moncada and Delmonico forced into time off. Their absences at this time of year won’t affect a pennant race or be the difference in a postseason berth.
But how does this time off, at this specific time in their early tastes of big league baseball, affect their development moving forward?
“You’re hoping that they’re healthy and they’re able to continue their development by being out there between the lines and playing,” manager Rick Renteria said ahead of Sunday’s game. “Hopefully it doesn’t affect them too much. You want them to be in there and get as many at-bats as possible and the experience. Each person’s different in how it will derail or affect their continued progress in most instances. … Hopefully it doesn’t affect either one of them.”
Renteria says that because in his mind, both guys were playing well before they were put on the shelf.
That’s demonstrably true of Delmonico, who was nearly unstoppable during his first 22 games in the majors. Delmonico wasn’t expected to be a huge part of the White Sox future — and even this hot start hasn’t moved him into the projected 2020 lineup yet — but he’s been a very pleasant surprise, showing that there could perhaps be an embarrassment of riches in the highly rated White Sox farm system.
Delmonico went to the DL with a .307/.429/.573 slash line. That’s a 1.002 OPS for the non-math majors out there. He’s got six homers, 12 RBIs and 15 walks compared to 14 strikeouts. He was tearing it up.
The concern, of course, is that this undesired stretch of time off could slow down that promising start.
“It is (frustrating),” Delmonico said Sunday. “Nothing I can do but try to treat it as much as I can and get ready to get back out there.”
The story is different for Moncada, at least from a statistical standpoint. He’s slashing just .188/.328/.356 in his 30 games since joining the White Sox.
But Renteria thinks the DL stint comes at an unfortunate time for Moncada, too, considering he, in the manager’s opinion, was just starting to turn it on at the plate.
“I still say that Moncada’s approaches have been really good, it’s just a matter of starting to understand a little bit more and recognition of the softer secondary pitches that he’s been swinging and missing at in the zone,” Renteria said. “Ironically, the day we brought him out (of the game with shin splints), he hit a breaking ball right-handed, it was an off-speed pitch down the left-field line to kind of get going. And he scored on that particular play later on.
“He’s starting to find that slot, that place where he’s recognizing pitches a little better, especially the secondary pitches. He definitely knows the strike zone. It’s not like this guy’s chasing pitches. This guy knows the strike zone, and it’s just a matter of getting more and more comfortable recognizing the secondary pitches that he can do damage with.”
White Sox fans are plenty aware that the organization is in the middle of a long-term waiting game. But now, with two youngsters on the DL — much-heralded pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez is on the major league disabled list, too — it's clear there will be bumps along the road to the apex of the rebuild.