Yoan Moncada wore a White Sox hoodie throughout infield practice in Indianapolis on Monday. While it didn’t exactly seem like a statement from baseball’s top prospect, it didn’t look out of place, either.
Moncada, who had plenty of Chicago press coming to see him and the Knights take on the Indianapolis Indians, just finished the kind of week that turns heads. He was 11-for-22 (.500) with two homers, a double, four RBIs and eight runs scored over six games. That’s incredible work. His coaches say his defense at second has improved. His teammates say he’s come out of his shell (he’s a bit of a quiet guy) and is a joy to have in the clubhouse, regardless of how much noise he makes (or doesn’t). White Sox fans say they’d prefer he play his home games on the South Side, rather than in the South.
The fans, it seems, will have to wait. On May 15th, the calendar turns on Moncada. At that point, the White Sox will have saved enough time in the minors to keep control of Moncada for seven seasons. It will be some time shortly after the All Star break, when the Super Two deadline passes. That’s a more complicated return for the Sox but, essentially, they’ll save a payment of about $10 million if they wait until the end of July to move Moncada up north.
While the circumstances surrounding the arrival of Moncada are far from unique (the Cubs faced the same situation with Kris Bryant, the Astros with Carlos Correa, the Indians with Francisco Lindor), the player might be. Moncada received a massive amount of money for signing with the Red Sox in 2015. Bryant, Correa, and Lindor were all drafted; their bonuses carefully capped by a CBA that works to keep teams from spending too much.
There are boxes for Moncada to check in AAA, however. It’s not a mere shell game keeping him from the Keystone at 35th and Shields. He strikes out quite a bit–right around the 30% mark for his minor league career. Typically, you can count on an increase of a few percentage points when a player moves up to the Bigs. That would be, as they say, a lot of strikeouts. Ideally, the Sox would like to see him decrease the swing and miss.
Also, as GM Rick Hahn is fond of pointing out, Moncada (who turns 22 at the end of the month) has just over 300 at-bats above A ball. That, as they say, just isn’t a lot. In baseball, there is concrete value in repetition.
Right now, Moncada’s repetition will be dominating AAA pitchers. If he wants to wear a White Sox hoodie the entire time, I don’t think anyone will have a problem with it.