The Chicago White Sox will mark a significant step forward in their rebuilding process on Wednesday night when Yoan Moncada makes his debut with the team.
Moncada, acquired by the White Sox in the 2016 trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox, has been hitting well in the minor leagues, with a .282 batting average and 12 home runs and 17 stolen bases, but he’ll be in for a big test as he heads to the big leagues and looks to make an impact on the South Side.
For White Sox fans, Moncada’s arrival is a pivotal moment in the process of reshaping the team’s roster, but the expectations for his arrival have to be tempered at least somewhat.
When it comes to rebuilding a franchise from the ground up, the Chicago Cubs have shown a path to success. They developed their own talent, made some key trades, splashed around some free agent money, and by the time everything was in place, they had gone from doormat to World Series champions in five years.
The White Sox have some advantages over the Cubs in that area, as they possessed pieces already to speed that process up. Having players like Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Quintana has enabled them to stock up on prospects, and Moncada is the first of those young players to make the jump to the big leagues.
Even though the Sox have had inherent advantages, the Moncada ascension has to be looked at as an early step in the process, not a key turning point. After all, this team has dealt away a slew of talent in recent days, and it’s going to be difficult for any player, much less a player with a whole six games of big league experience, to fill the types of voids that are being left.
If you’re looking for a comparison to where the Sox are in their process to how the Cubs’ situation unfolded, this is an equivalent to Anthony Rizzo coming to the big leagues. Yes, Rizzo is a cornerstone piece, and Moncada has the potential to be even better than him, but the reality remains that he is just one player, and there is still a lot of work to be done before fans get too excited.
Even with that word of caution, White Sox fans should still be thrilled with this development. The White Sox have played a very good long game when it comes to bringing Moncada up, and doing so now will give them a nice extended look at what the star prospect needs to work on as he tries to bring his game up to the big league level.
No matter how things turn out in the short term, this move by Rick Hahn and company to bring Moncada to the big show now signals that the team is ready to slowly start the turning the ship from strictly offloading talent to bringing that talent along in the system, and that is a good sign for optimistic fans that are hoping that the rebuild begins to yield concrete, on-the-field results in the near future.