White Sox manager hopes Moncada learned something in 2018
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada’s progression as a second baseman and hitter has been mixed in his first full season.
No matter what the numbers say, the 23-year-old switch hitter’s .224/.304/.391 batting line with 17 homers, six triples, 24 doubles, 11 stolen bases, 57 RBI and a major-league high 196 strikeouts and team-high 18 errors through Tuesday will jump off the page for reasons both good and bad. Manager Rick Renteria emphasized the importance of Moncada taking what he has learned and putting it to use in 2019.
“From conversations we’ve had, he’s realizing there’s much more involved than the at-bats,’’ said Renteria, who did not start Moncada against Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund on Wednesday. “Things he has to do on the field and the bases. How much more aware [players] have to be, having a swivel in the infield when things are going on around them.’’
Renteria, who has questioned Moncada’s focus at times this season, suggested he is discovering the depth of all that goes on during a game, from basics to nuances.
“It’s been a great experience for him,’’ Renteria said. “Beyond the numbers, he’s gained a lot of understanding of what’s going on. He realizes there is a lot to be learned . . . he understands there is importance to routine and preparation.
“He’s one of [these] kids who is learning a lot, even through the struggles and ups and downs that he’s had.’’
Aches and pains
Moncada, who has struggled against lefties, got the day off to rest a sore hip, Renteria said.
Matt Davidson, who said he felt “a pull” in his left calf against the Angels on Friday, was out of the lineup for a third consecutive day but was available and likely will be ready to go Friday in Baltimore after the day off Thursday.
September call-up Ian Hamilton, a potential closer of the future who has allowed a run on two hits in his first four appearances, says the experience will be invaluable going into the offseason.
“It will be huge,’’ Hamilton said. “This gives me an idea of what I need to do in the offseason, too, as far as keeping the arm in shape. Knowing what I know now, I’ll be more game-ready for spring training. Instead of coming in low 90s, I’ll be coming in throwing what I’m throwing at the end of the season.’’
Hamilton said his head is still spinning as he experiences the big league life for the first time.
“Everything is better,” he said. “I don’t want to leave.’’
Jason Benetti and Steve Stone will call 10 of the final 16 games. Here are the changes to the TV lineup.
Friday at Baltimore: Chuck Swirsky and Stone, with Benetti missing the broadcast due to ESPN college football play-by-play duty.
Tuesday at Cleveland: Benetti and Tom Paciorek with Stone missing broadcast for Yom Kippur.
Thursday at Cleveland: Stone and Paciorek, with Benetti missing for ESPN college football play-by-play duty.
Sept 21-23: Ken Harrelson and Stone, with Harrelson calling the final three games of his career.