We live in an instant gratification society and over the course of the White Sox rebuild, it’s been amplified x1000. Sox fans don’t just want, they demand and expect all of the organization’s super prospects get called up and light the world on fire from day 1. Now while that’d be nice, it’s also a little unrealistic. It happened last year with Yoan and to a lesser extent, this year with Eloy:
Example 1: Yoan Moncada
Here are Yoan’s 2018 stats:
Not great! If he was just any asshole it’d be considered a pretty average year from an offensive output standpoint, but he was the #1 prospect in baseball and Boston signed him for $31.5MM out of Cuba in one of the largest international free agent deals in the history of the game. Because of that, he was expected to light the world on fire and when he didn’t, assholes all over the place were calling him the B word without providing any context on why he was struggling:
And wouldn’t ya know it, he’s blossomed this year. It took about 700 plate appearances, but he’s turned into one a superstar and is only going to get better. I’m talking he’ll have MVP caliber seasons in the coming years.
Example 2: Eloy Jimenez
Eloy Jimenez wasn’t much different. He struggled from the outset and people became restless, especially everyone’s least favorite White Sox Twitter heel KenWO. He had strong feelings about him early in the year when he was being force-fed sliders off the plate every single pitch:
Now Eloy is a MUCH more polished hitter than Moncada. Moncada being a switch hitter makes him all the more difficult to develop as he needs twice the reps in the cages, off the tee, etc., but Eloy carried himself like a 30 year old veteran through his progression through the White Sox system. I’ve said it before, but his spray chart shows how great a hitter he will be because he uses all fields with authority:
That, and he vaporizes baseballs:
But again, it took him a minute to get to where he is now, murdering baseballs. Here are his 1H and 2H splits:
Night and day difference. I wish he’d walk a little more, but that’ll come as he ages as well. But my point in this blog is that for a season in which was a very “eh” half of baseball followed be a really good one, Eloy Jimenez still has 30 home runs. That leads all rookies in the AL, and if it weren’t for Yordan Alvarez, he’d have a decent shot at taking home the Rookie of the Year Award.
It’s crazy to me; 30 dingers isn’t too much in today’s game, but Eloy also did it in 118 games. Over a 162 game stretch he’d be on pace for about 42, and that’s in his rookie year and a year where he’s still learning who he is as a hitter and how pitchers attack him. I’m not embellishing when I say this, but he has the ability to hit 50 home runs by accident in the coming years, just as he seemingly hit 30 by accident this year. That’s how absurd his raw power/hit tool combo is.
This second half of baseball was so goddamn fun for that reason. The losses piled up which is whatever, but watching Eloy and Moncada blossom into scary offensive players has me straight up giddy for 2019. I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if they hit 80 bombs between the two of them next year and neither should you. Both get dinged up a decent amount, but if they each play in 145+ games next year, AL Central pitchers are sooo fucked.
This only reigns true IF both Eloy and Moncada stay healthy. Both have a tendency to get dinged up. Shoulder here, hamstring there… it annoys me. No, they shouldn’t play if they can potentially risk further injury but it still sucks that they left about 60 games on the table between the two of them this year. The lineup will go as they go and they HAVE to stay healthy. If they do, look out. If they don’t? Not so much.