KANSAS CITY — White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada did a week’s worth of work in three innings during Friday night’s 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Royals in only his second Major League game with the South Siders.
Ranked as the No. 1 prospect overall by MLBPipeline.com, Moncada, who finished 0-for-2 with a walk in his debut on Wednesday against the Dodgers, grounded out in the second off of Royals starter Ian Kennedy to score Avisail Garcia with his first RBI and second of his career.
In the third, Moncada delivered on an 0-2 offspeed pitch with the bases loaded and two out via an opposite-field triple to left-center that cleared the bases for his first White Sox hit.Moncada went home to third in 11.24 seconds and had a sprint speed of 30.0 feet per second, according to Statcast™. Billy Hamilton leads the Majors in average sprint speed at 30.1 ft/sec. Moncada also recorded the White Sox ninth-fastest home-to-third time ever tracked since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Seven of the top 8 were Adam Eaton, with one Tim Anderson run in the mix.
At 22 years, 55 days, Moncada is the youngest White Sox player to record four RBIs in a game since Sammy Sosa (21 years, 313 days) on Sept. 21, 1990, at Seattle. The triple also represented Moncada’s first hit since Sept. 4, 2016, at Oakland when he was with Boston.
That connection infused a level of excitement the White Sox hoped for and even expected through the big league addition of this elite young talent. It also put Moncada a little more at ease.
“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo after the White Sox took their seventh straight loss. “First because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three-RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. From now on, I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”
“He’s been having some really good at-bats, actually,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s also been in the field doing a nice job, defensively. Made a couple nice plays today.”
Groundouts in the sixth and eighth left Moncada at 1-for-4 in the series opener and 1-for-6 since joining the Major League club. The switch-hitter has yet to strike out and looks comfortable in everything he’s doing.
“I’ve been feeling very comfortable,” said Moncada, who choked up with two strikes and benefited from a 10-pitch walk drawn by Matt Davidson in the previous at-bat that allowed Moncada to see all of Kennedy’s pitches in real time. “In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall, I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”
“He seems pretty calm, composed out there,” Renteria said. “It’s just a couple of days, but in terms of how he’s carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”