White Sox

Where does Yoan Moncada fit in the White Sox lineup of the future?

Where does Yoan Moncada fit in the White Sox lineup of the future?

It may be fun to project what the White Sox lineup could look like in 2020, after waves of prospects land in Chicago and, potentially, the organization has splurged on a big-ticket free agent or two. But until those players make it to 35th and Shields, it's just a projection -- and even for the first hyped prospect to come to the White Sox, there's still plenty to figure out. 

Yoan Moncada is expected to be the centerpiece of that lineup of the future. But first, the White Sox need to figure out where in that batting order he’ll fit. 

After hitting sixth in each of his first four games since being promoted from Triple-A, Moncada hit second in Monday’s Crosstown opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It’s a tantalizing possibility to hit Moncada ahead of Jose Abreu or whatever middle-of-the-order hitters the White Sox have down the road, given the 22-year-old’s ability to put together quality at-bats and drive in runs. 

“I know he handles the bat very well,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I think he’s showing he has some plate discipline. These are some of the things that were worked on and talked about with him. We’ll have to see how he continues to develop and where he’s at.”

Moncada’s speed and on-base skills could make him an intriguing leadoff. If his power continues to develop, he could hit third, fourth of fifth -- and if not, he still should be able to be a run producer hitting ahead of middle-of-the-order mashers. Or maybe the White Sox lineup in 2020 is so deep that he could hit sixth. 

It’s far too early to make any sweeping declarations about where Moncada could hit, of course. But the White Sox will have plenty of options, and have plenty of time to figure out which one of those will be the best. 

“He probably could be anything,” Renteria said. “Do I see him anywhere from the first to sixth spot in the lineup? Yeah, possibly. It would be very difficult for me to give you that assessment yet. 

“… Lineups the way they’re set up day, the way they’re configured, there are a lot of different variables people use, but certainly a guy with speed like that and if he can handle the bat, you can see him pretty much anywhere throughout the lineup.”
 

The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal broke suddenly and unexpectedly.

It wasn’t a big surprise that the White Sox would go after him, but the timing and the fact that the White Sox broke the news on their own (a la the Jose Quintana trade) caught people off guard.

Once the dust settled, the White Sox were in the national spotlight as far as the baseball world was concerned.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan got Ken Williams on the record before the White Sox had conference calls on the signing. Williams makes it sound like it’s go-time for the South Siders.


Passan also gave a look at a potential White Sox lineup for 2020 once prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal eventually join. We also made our own.


The Athletic’s Jayson Stark was impressed with how early the signing was. White Sox fans will enjoy that after going through the long, drawn out Manny Machado/Bryce Harper sagas last offseason.

Here are some Grandal stats that should get White Sox fans fired up about his addition (if they weren’t already).


Finally, is it time to talk playoffs? Long way to go, but the White Sox offseason is off to a notable start.


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What does Yasmani Grandal’s addition mean for the White Sox at DH?

What does Yasmani Grandal’s addition mean for the White Sox at DH?

The White Sox have a brand-spanking new catcher.

What they still don’t have is a new designated hitter. Maybe.

Grandal will be the team’s backstop, first and foremost, after signing a four-year deal that at $73 million is the richest in team history, but he might end up helping Rick Hahn solve the equation at DH, too. Like any catcher, he isn’t expected to throw on the gear and squat for nine innings on a daily basis. But he carries a big enough stick that the White Sox will want him in their lineup as often as possible. An appearance at DH every once in a while would be a good way to do just that.

But Grandal might wind up just one part of a multifaceted DH puzzle. He can also play first base, after all, appearing there in 20 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. Jose Abreu is ticketed for the daily duties at that spot in 2020, but Hahn said last week that Abreu will play some DH, like he did in 2019. When Abreu needs a day off his feet, Grandal can play first base.

And then there are the team’s other catchers, James McCann and Zack Collins. While the kind of offensive output they’ll churn out in 2020 remains a mystery — one of the big reasons Grandal’s addition makes so much sense — rosters expanding to hold 26 players could mean they both stay on the big league roster, even with Grandal in the fold. On days Grandal is behind the plate, perhaps Rick Renteria will utilize them as DH options.

"It gives us options there," Hahn said Thursday. "But it's Nov. 21. We've got a lot of offseason left. So let's see what else comes together over the coming months, and if in fact it winds up where Zack or a combination of Yasmani and James in the DH spot is the best option, then we'll see how that works out.

"It's a little too early to say that's exactly how it'll line up come late March."

It’s the rest of that offseason that could present the White Sox with Door No. 3.

Designated hitter has been one of the items on Hahn’s to-do list since the offseason began, and he said just last week that the solution to the hole there — where the White Sox had some of the worst production in the American League — would likely be an external one.

Grandal counts as an external fix, but perhaps there’s a more everyday route the White Sox could go in free agency or via trade to add some thump to the lineup. Grandal is the kind of addition that makes the White Sox transitioning from rebuilding to contending in 2020 look more realistic. While other moves would need to happen to make that more of a certainty, there’s the possibility of the team adding enough that a short-term fix at DH would make sense.

That’s all down the road, of course.

Nothing might be set in stone at DH at the moment, even after Thursday’s big signing. But among the many things Grandal brings to the South Side is that versatility, providing the White Sox with a number of paths to travel down in search of a solution.

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