White Sox Outlook
The White Sox come into 2020 with arguably the best offseason of any team. Chicago made the upgrades they needed to take another step forward in their rebuilding process. PECOTA projected the White Sox at 83, and third in the division, which would make 2020 the first winning since 2012 for the Southsiders. Chicago is looking to compete for the playoffs in 2020 despite what the projections say. A lot of their wins are going to have to come from the young core they have built up since trading away former White Sox like Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December of 2016.
One of the players picked up was Yoan Moncada, who was rated as the number one prospect in baseball before making his debut in 2017. Moncada got off to a slow start in 2017 and 2018, as he was too patient at the plate and struck out over 200 times in the 2018 campaign. However, he turned it around in 2019, and ended up being a top-25 player in baseball with a 5.7 WAR. Moncada finally showed his true potential as being the best prospect in baseball, and will be asked to do it again for a growing team like the White Sox.
— Sean Williams (@Sean_W10) February 17, 2020
Yoan Moncada finally had his breakout season with a slash line of .315/.367/.548 in 2019. He finished with a WAR of 5.7, and was quietly one of the best players in baseball last season. When he was traded from Boston in 2016, he was the best prospect in baseball, and he finally showed flashes of his potential last year. One of the most promising things for Moncada is the analytics on his contact from last year. According to Baseball Savant, his exit velocity was in the 97th percentile, and hard hit percentage was in the 92nd percentile. This shows that the contact he was making with the baseball was very good, and he was seeing the ball well in 2019.
Also, he dropped his strikeout percentage below 30 percent. Now, he still struck out over 27 percent of the time, but he was able to drop it six percentage points from his 2018 season. This might drop a bit lower in 2020 as well, as he continues to mature into his peak. Look for Moncada continue his aggressive approach at the plate. This was a big contributor to his success last year, and the reason why he was quietly a top-25 player.
Right now, it’s hard to see Moncada completely falling off and regressing close to his 2018 numbers. Heading into the 2019 season, Moncada adjusted his approach at the plate, and also moved from second base to third base. This helped him adjust to a more aggressive role in both the batter’s box and the field given the position. However, Moncada did have some inflated numbers in 2019 in some areas. First things first, he had a BABIP of .406 last season, which was the second highest BABIP amongst qualified players since World War II. This is going regress pretty good, which will ultimately drop his batting average for the 2020 season. I still believe Moncada will be closer to his 2019 numbers than his 2018 numbers.
Overall, he’s still projected to be around a four win player this upcoming season. ZiPS projections on Fangraphs has him as a 3.9 WAR player, and a slash line of .274/.341/.483 for 2020. Now that the White Sox are moving onto the next stage in their rebuild, Moncada could see more protection in the lineup. This would then help him get better pitches he wants since pitchers wouldn’t be able to pitch around him.
Overall, I think Yoan Moncada has a ton of value moving forward. If he replicates last season in the slightest, then he’ll be a huge steal in later rounds. Lineups has Moncada as the ninth ranked third baseman in fantasy baseball. Also, ESPN has him ranked 12th, and an average draft position of 114th. He’s projected to score over 500 fantasy points, according to ESPN. There is some inflation from Moncada’s 2019 numbers, but there are some promising notes form the advanced analytics that last season wasn’t a fluke. There will be some regression, but he should be close to a five win player in 2020.
His ISO power should stay above .200 this season, which will contribute to more home runs and doubles through out the year, and add more points to the stat sheet. Also, with an improved White Sox lineup, he should have more opportunities to drive in runs, and score more runs himself. Don’t be surprised if he’s above 80 in both runs scored, and RBI’s. If Moncada added some strength in the offseason, then his home run numbers could be above 30 this season.
In 2019, Yoan Moncada jumped 80 points in his batting average from .235 in 2018, to .315 last season. Moncada finally had a breakout year, and has a promising future, but he could still see some regression in 2020. According to the ZiPS projections on Fangraphs, he has a projected slash line of .274/.341/.483. That is quite the drop for someone who hit .315 the year before, but also not a terrible batting average either. In my opinion, with how well the White Sox should produce this season, he could be close to the .300 mark than the .250 mark for 2020. Also, expect him to score more runs and drive in more RBI’s. There is legit talent on the Southside of Chicago, and he’ll be the beneficiary of more production.
According to our own Lineups fantasy projections, Moncada is looking to score 92 runs and drive-in 80 guys, which would be career highs in both categories. One thing I think is going to be higher than what the numbers show is his home runs. Last season, he hit 25 homers and 34 doubles. With another season under his belt, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of those balls hit deep in the gap find their way over the wall. Moncada should be a guy that can hit 30 home runs next season despite what the projections say. All in all Moncada will probably see some regression in 2020, but not enough where he should be avoided in fantasy this season. He has a ton of value for where his is projected to go, and I would take a swing on him if he’s available in the middle rounds.
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