The biggest story line for the White Sox coming into 2018 was Yoan Moncada’s development. Fans overall have been pretty upset with him as he is only batting .233/.296/.411 this season. He started the year off decent, then got really hot before going on the DL with a hamstring injury. Since coming back, he has been pretty awful. Any fan would be foolish to say otherwise. However, it finally seems like he is starting to turn the corner.
In Moncada’s last 7 games, he is slashing .344/.364/.563 with a .927 OPS. He has at least one hit in each of those 7 games, and even went 1-3 batting from the right handed side (his weaker side) against former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel the other day.
Putting Moncada’s 2018 Season In Perspective
When people look at Moncada’s stats, they will tend to focus on his disappointing average and eye-widening strikeout rate. Before I go more in depth with those two areas, let’s remember here that Yoan has played in 144 career MLB games. Not even a full season’s worth. Now when it comes to average, people need to realize that that is a grossly misleading stat. Some of the best at driving in runs bat anywhere from .240-.250. If Moncada didn’t have the power that he has, then I’d be concerned (more on that later).
Now about the strikeouts. Unfortunately, they will probably always be a part of his game. He should still learn to drastically cut them down from his K rate this year (34.7%), but overall it’s just a part of his game that fans are going to have to accept.
What fans should really be focusing on are his pace projections covering his entire 2018 season. I did some research after the 4th of July game against the Reds and was literally shocked at what I saw.
Yoan Moncada is on pace for 36 doubles and 80+ RBI’s in a year where he might lead the league in strikeouts and he’s batting below .240. Let that sink in for a second and imagine what it’ll be like when he really figures it out at the plate 😂
— Emmet McClain (@Run__EMC) July 4, 2018
Yoan Moncada has struggled, but he has 32 extra base hits and only Jose Abreu has more RBI for #WhiteSox in 2018. I believe he’s going to be special.
— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) July 4, 2018
These stats go back to what I was saying earlier about his power. He has A TON of pop in his bat. Once he gets a better idea on how pitchers are going to attack him he will learn which pitches he can drive. Not only will we see this increase his power numbers, but his average as well.
ESPN again ripped a guy while he was batting, this time it was Yoan Moncada.
And seconds later…pic.twitter.com/Ehp8Kmip35
— Someone's An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) July 5, 2018
There is a very good chance that this season is the WORST we will see of Moncada. And if him at his worst is putting up 36 doubles, 80+ RBI, and 20+ home runs, then sign me up.
At his absolute peak I think he can slash .280/.360/.490 with 30 home runs, 40 doubles and 30 steals. That is an All-Star right there, and potentially an MVP.
So let’s recap: stop worrying about what his average is, and instead look at what he is doing when he hits the ball. His hard hit rate is still one of the tops in the entire MLB. Stop worrying about his strikeout numbers, because they’ll always be there (though hopefully not at the rate they are at now). And remember that he will get better and better with more experience. Just look at Javy Baez and Avisail Garcia as two examples of that.
Yoan Moncada has all the talent needed to not only succeed, but dominate the MLB. The only thing we can do now is wait and see just how much potential he can tap into.