White Sox

South Side again gaga over YoYo, but White Sox never stopped feeling that way: 'I always say he's going to be a superstar'

South Side again gaga over YoYo, but White Sox never stopped feeling that way: 'I always say he's going to be a superstar'

Yoan Moncada went from the top-ranked prospect in the game to a guy who struck out 217 times in his first full season in the majors. And now, he's once again the talk of the South Side.

Moncada is off to an excellent start, rebounding in impressive fashion from a disappointing 2018 campaign, one those strikeouts were just the most glaring part of. He also committed 21 errors at second base and had woeful numbers against left-handed pitching. But 2019 has been a complete 180. Through the season's first six games, he's slashing .458/.519/.875 with four doubles, a couple homers and a few clutch hits, the most recent the game-winning single to center in the seventh inning of Friday's home opener.

It's changed him from goat to GOAT in the minds of the fan base in an instant. But the White Sox aren't surprised.

"He has all the tools," fellow infielder Yolmer Sanchez said before Saturday's game against the Seattle Mariners. "I always say he’s going to be a superstar. He’s going to be in the All-Star Game. We know that he can do that and better than that."

"I'm hoping we're seeing the guy that everybody was expecting from the beginning, from the inception of acquiring him, and that he continues to grow," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's continued to mature, obviously, but I think that experience of being in the big leagues has helped a lot."

Last season, that was a common talking point, that struggles among the team's young major leaguers would benefit them down the road. Moncada went to work during the offseason, going to Arizona and trying to fix the things that led to those poor results in 2018. He had tremendous results during Cactus League play, and that's carried over into the regular season.

It's early, of course, but Moncada has rearranged expectations in the fan base. The standing ovation he received in his White Sox debut back in 2017 was replicated multiple times Friday.

Growing pains could once again pop up. Moncada has made the adjustments he needed to solve big league pitching, but those pitchers are expected to make their own adjustments in that endless game of cat and mouse. And there's further development to come at the hot corner, Moncada's new position for the 2019 season after spending the 2018 season at second base. While he's made some very nice plays there in the first handful of games this season, the work continues.

"The one thing that (bench coach Joe McEwing is) working on with him right now is keeping his feet moving and his throws to first," Renteria said. "Sometimes he has a tendency to get flat-footed, throw underneath, get under the ball a little bit and either short-arm it or pull balls. He's trying to have him stay behind the ball a little bit more. Other than that, everything else has been really, really good. Makes plays great laterally, coming forward, taking jab steps back. His reaction off the ball is quick, he's as good as anybody I've ever seen over there. So he'll be able to cover a lot of ground."

"He’s playing outstanding third base," said Sanchez, who was the White Sox everyday third baseman last season and has now taken Moncada's old spot at second. "He’s playing really good. I know he’s not going to have trouble at third. He’s a good athlete. He’s a good defensive player and he’s going to be good."

It remains to be seen whether these results continue over the course of a 162-game season for Moncada. In fact, if this hot start is anything, it's an example of why folks shouldn't overreact to one stretch or even one year.

But it could be a coming-out party the former No. 1 prospect in baseball was always destined to have, even if it took a year or two for him to get here.

Once again, just like that night in July 2017, the South Side is gaga over YoYo. Just know that the White Sox never stopped feeling that way.

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Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

To say the 2018-19 White Sox have had an up-and-down season would be an understatement. The season has been filled with more good than bad for sure‒three All-Stars, 42 wins, one possible Rookie of the Year candidate‒but their seven-game losing streak coming out the All-Star break certainly seemed taxing.

Chicago’s Leury Garica-fueled bounce-back win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday certainly helped spirits but Saturday’s dramatic, extra-innings win at Tropicana field could be the type of win that really gets the team back on track.

It looked like the White Sox were headed for their eighth loss in nine games. They were down to their final out when catcher James McCann decided to add another chapter to his storybook season.


 

McCann took a slider from Rays relief pitcher Emilio Pagán 373-feet out to left field for the game-tying home run.

It was another huge moment in a great season from McCann, heightened by the fact that there were so few baserunners (total) in this game and that another o-fer in the scoring column would’ve marked the second shutout loss in a week for the White Sox.

Instead, McCann’s heroics extended a game in which the White Sox bullpen‒2 H, 0 ER‒was excellent in relief of Lucas Giolito, who also pitched well.

Over 6.2 innings, Giolito racked up 9 Ks while giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run. The lone run Giolito gave up was a high changeup that former White Sox outfielder Avisaíl García.

This game was without a doubt a pitchers' duel, so it was only fitting that the game-winning run was scored on an RBI-single by  José Abreu in which Yoan Moncada personified "Ricky's boys don't quit" on the basepaths.


Despite the lack of strong offensive production on Saturday night, the White Sox were able to grind out the win in a Giolito start, something that has been a recurring theme for the squad.

As elder statesmen Abreu hinted at, the White Sox need their key players back but wins like Saturday’s will help build confidence in the meantime.

The South Siders head into Sunday’s noon game with the Rays‒and their subsequent series with the Miami Marlins‒with their seven-game losing streak further in the rearview mirror and that is the best news we could hope for as we await the cavalry.

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White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

kelvin_herrera.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

The White Sox saw another pitcher hit the shelf due to injury on Saturday.

Ahead of their game against the Rays, the White Sox placed reliever Kelvin Herrera on the 10-day injured with a right oblique strain. In a corresponding move, the team recalled right-hander Jimmy Cordero from Triple-A Charlotte.

Entering the 2019 season, Herrera was expected to be a formidable late-game reliever in the White Sox bullpen alongside closer Álex Colomé. While Colomé (20-for-21 in save chances, 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 innings) has thrived, Herrera has struggled in his debut season on the South Side. The 29-year-old holds a 7.36 ERA in 38 games/33 innings. As things currently stand, his .326 batting average against and 3.82 BB/9 would be career highs. 

Herrera's struggles are somewhat suprising when considering how well he pitched (2.44 ERA, 48 games/44 1/3 innings) in 2018. He did struggle after the Royals traded him to the Nationals on June 18, though, perhaps a precursor of what was to come from him in 2019:

Kelvin Herrera in 2018:

  with Royals with Nationals
Games 27 21
Innings 25 2/3 18 2/3
ERA 1.05 4.34
BB 2 8
K 22 16
BAA .207 .304

The White Sox claimed Cordero off of waivers from the Mariners on June 7. He previously pitched with the Nationals (22 games, 19 innings) in 2018 and Blue Jays (one game, 1 1/3 innings) in 2019. He holds a career 5.75 ERA in the MLB, but he's pitched well with Charlotte. The 28-year-old has gone 3-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Knights, with opponents hitting just .215 against him in 13 outings.

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