Powell: Is Yoan Moncada Already the Face of the White Sox?
By Kevin Powell
It might be a stretch to say White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada is already the face of the franchise. He’s still just 21-years-old, still just a prospect, and he hasn’t even played with the big league club yet.
But when you look at what the team has at the major league level, it’s not that crazy of a thought to think the Cuban infielder is the face of the rebuilding Sox. Reporters continue to trek from Chicago to see him up close. CSN Chicago has been airing Charlotte Knight’s games so fans can catch a glimpse of the burgeoning star. The Knight’s themselves are cashing in, advertising Moncada shirsey’s for sale at their online team store. Moncada fever has hit the South Side.
He’s been on a tear at Charlotte. The infielder is slashing .345/.419/.549 and has smacked six homers with 11 RBI. Last week he was named International League Batter of the Week after he batted .500, with two homers and four RBI, eight runs scored and a .818 slugging percentage.
“The tools are obviously off the charts,” general manager Rick Hahn said on Monday. “Seeing him on a daily basis you get to appreciate how special of an individual he is as well. And how he’s in a very good position to, health permitting, maximize those tools and reach his ceiling.”
I got to see Moncada up close at spring training this year, and physically I can’t remember a player that resembles him. He looks strong, fast, quick. And there certainly doesn’t appear to be any shortage in the confidence department. Moncada has a presence about him.
“Every indication we got from him, going back to our hitters camp in January, and the work he did in spring training, and now the work he does each day down in Charlotte….he does have that special star-caliber makeup where he is willing to pay the price to be great,” Hahn said.
Director of player development Chis Getz agrees.
“Yoan’s done a tremendous job. He’s off to a very nice start,” Getz told WGN Radio’s Justin Kaufmann. “He can impact the game in a lot of different ways. He’s a switch-hitter, power from both sides, he can move the ball around. He can truly change the game.”
The Sox knew they’d have to wait until mid-May to ensure they’d have Moncada under control through 2023, rather than 2022, due to MLB service time rules. But Hahn says they’re simply going wait until Moncada answers all the questions the Sox may have about his game.
“We’re not going to rush this. As satisfying as it may by for all of us with the organization to see him out there even tonight at the big league level because it gives you that shot in the arm, and shows you that there’s progress in the rebuild. That’s not in the long term interest of Yoan Moncada, or the club.”
The Sox are 15-16 this year, and they’ll likely fade hard, especially after Hahn trades away the few remaining assets. But remain patient, Sox fans. The star piece of the future White Sox isn’t far away. The face of the franchise, could actually be showing his face at 35th and Shields any day now.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720