Saturday, June 15, 2024

Put Some Respect On Yoán Moncada’s Name

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When news broke that Juan Soto declined an extension worth $350 million from the Nationals, White Sox Twitter exploded with trade possibilities for the 23-year old star. One recurring name that keeps popping up in trade packages is Yoán Moncada. 

Let’s get this out of the way. A trade for Juan Soto is not going to happen. The White Sox do not have enough assets in their farm system to put together a sufficient trade package. The White Sox are also unlikely to shell out over $350 million for an extension if they were able to swing a trade. 

Complaining about Yoán Moncada is one of White Sox Twitter’s favorite pastimes. But the amount of disrespect for Yoan Moncada’s game is baffling. 

Since being traded to the White Sox in 2016 he has been considered a core piece of the rebuild. He has had his growing pains. During his first full season in the big leagues, he led the league with 217 strikeouts. 

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He also struggled with the aftereffects of COVID-19 during the 2020 season. During a road game in Cleveland, he had trouble catching his breath after running the bases. His production all year took a noticeable dip. However, he still managed to finish second in the American League in triples in 2020. He also had to make a transition from third base to second base then back to third base.

However, when healthy Yoán Moncada has shown why he is a cornerstone of the franchise. In 2019 he had a break-out year hitting .317 with a .915 OPS. He had 25 home runs and 79 RBIs his largest totals to date. His offensive WAR was 5.0 which was the 10th best in the American League. 

His 70 home runs with the White Sox are the third-highest total in franchise history by a switch hitter. He is also just one of eight players to homer from both sides of the plate in a single game in franchise history. Moncada did it on July 3rd against the Tigers. The second home run happened to be a game tying blast in the bottom of the ninth.

In 2021 his power numbers dipped but he made up for it by introducing a new element to his game. Patience at the plate. Moncada drew 84 walks and set a career-high in OBP with a .375 mark. That was the third-highest total in the American League and .050 points above the Major League average. He also had a WAR of 4.0. He also set a career-high in contact percentage and a career-low in strikeout percentage. 

Moncada also tied the franchise record with eight consecutive games recording a hit and a walk. The only other players to do that in a White Sox uniform are Frank Thomas (1996,1992), Ivan Calderon (1988), Pat Seerey (1948), and Eddie Collins (1915).

On the defensive side, he has been excellent since shifting back to the hot corner. Moncada has finished in the top five in assist amongst American League third baseman for three consecutive seasons. He finished third in 2019 with 256, second in 2020 with 101, and fifth in 2021 with 236. He also finished first in double plays turned as a third baseman in 2019 and 2020. 

This is no fluke either. Moncada’s athleticism and range allow him to reach more balls than the average third baseman. His 3.09 range factor per 9 innings led all American League third baseman in 2019. 

Dallas Keuchel knows a thing or two about great defense. He has a trophy case filled with five Gold Gloves to prove it.  When asked about Moncada’s defense in April he said: 

“He’s got Gold Glove talent. He’s been nothing short of spectacular on the field. I don’t expect anything less. He’s a talented dude.”

In 2021 he averaged three defensive runs saved above the Major League average. 

Let’s also not forget that the man became an international music sensation with the release of Desastre Personal. He will continue to improve as a player and at the age of 26 is just entering his prime. Please put some respect on his name. 

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