White Sox

Rick Hahn on White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada: 'We're not going to rush this'

Rick Hahn on White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada: 'We're not going to rush this'

Yoan Moncada has done what the White Sox have asked and he’s going to have to continue to do it a little bit longer.

The super prospect is in the midst of a fantastic run at Triple-A Charlotte in which he has reduced his strikeout rate and shown defensive improvement. But even as the date nears in Moncada could be promoted without losing a year of service time it appears he’ll remain with the Knights. General manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that the White Sox are very pleased with the efforts of the top-ranked prospect in baseball. He also noted the club intends to make sure Moncada is sufficiently prepared for when he finally gets the call.

“He’s shown a fair amount of progress in each of those areas that we’ve asked of him,” Hahn said. “That said, we want to see that over an extended period of time. It’s awfully important to not lose sight of the fact this is a 21-year-old player, one who was not playing two years ago as of right now. It’s a guy who has fewer than 325 or so plate appearances above A-ball.

So we think the world of his talent and future and we think he is responding to the challenges we put ahead of him, but we’re not going to rush this.”

The team’s fanbase is gripped with Yoansanity. Moncadamania is peaking on the South Side.

But if Moncada’s current play hasn’t changed the team’s thinking, the fan factor isn’t likely to budge it, either.

Over his last 16 games, Moncada is hitting .385/.446/.585 with three home runs and seven RBIs and 16 runs scored. Moncada also has reduced his strikeout rate to 21.6 percent with 16 whiffs in his last 74 plate appearances after 18 in his first 55. The defensive improvements have come along nicely, too, particularly in turning double plays and more aggressive angles to the ball.

With May 14 fast approaching -- the date at which the team wouldn’t surrender a year of service time by promoting Moncada -- there’s been hope the White Sox might promote the second baseman. But Hahn doesn’t sound like someone on the verge of unleashing the team’s most-hyped prospect on the fanbase.

“We think the world of his talent and future and we think he is responding to the challenges we put ahead of him, but we’re not going to rush this,” Hahn said. “As satisfying as it may be for all of us to see him out there even tonight at the big league level because it gives you that shot in the arm and shows there is progress in the rebuild, it’s not in the long term interest of Yoan Moncada or the club. He’ll be here when he answers all the questions we have for him with the developmental standpoint at the minor league level. He’s done a good job, but there is a benefit to letting him answer all of those and continue the repetitions at that level until that next stage takes place at this level.”

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

So often in this rebuilding season, Rick Renteria has talked of "learning moments," and as is evident from the team's win-loss numbers and many other statistics, those "learning moments" have largely ended in negative results.

It's not to say the lessons haven't been valuable ones, and growing pains now could lead to big-time success down the road, when the White Sox shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

But Tuesday night in Detroit, one young player, a significant piece of the team's long-term plans, succeeded in such a moment. And it looked like a step forward for a guy who's called himself one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball this season.

Lucas Giolito looked like he was heading for another disappointing outing early, when he relinquished a three-run lead in the first inning, allowing three runs that grew his first-inning ERA on the season to 8.63. But he settled down nicely from there, allowing just two base runners over the next four innings and allowing the White Sox to jump back ahead, which they did, leading 6-3 by the time Giolito's biggest challenge came around.

The Tigers loaded the bases to start the bottom of the sixth, putting three on with nobody out for Giolito, who has been susceptible to the big inning often this season, including in his previous start, when he gave up six runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees.

Renteria could've pulled the plug there and brought in a fresh reliever to try and limit the damage and keep his team's three-run lead alive. Instead, he allowed Giolito to stay in — another example of certain developmental things being more important than wins and losses this season — and the right-hander rewarded him. Giolito got a shallow flyball, a strikeout and a popup on the infield to end the inning with no runs scoring.

Giolito was obviously happy about that, and cameras showed him sharing a smile with Renteria in the dugout.

The White Sox won the game and now have a 6-2 record in Giolito's last eight starts. They're .500 (12-12) in his 24 starts this season, an interesting note, if not a terribly meaningful one, considering the team's overall record is 33 games below the .500 mark.

These "learning moments" have defined this developmental season on the South Side, and often they've come with the caveat of growing pains and the promise of a better tomorrow, despite a somewhat painful present.

This moment, though, came with a very visible sign of things moving in the right direction for Giolito. It doesn't mean Giolito will take off from here. But it's a good sign and something the White Sox have to be happy about as Giolito continues to develop at the major league level.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Will the White Sox call up Jimenez and/or Kopech this season?

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AP/USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Will the White Sox call up Jimenez and/or Kopech this season?

With Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech dominating in Triple-A, we tackle the No. 1 question on the mind of every White Sox fan: Are either or both of the White Sox top prospects going to play in the majors this year?

Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Slavko Bekovic give their takes and predictions. Plus, which other minor leaguers should be called up in September?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: