Moncada's Struggles Continue In 1st Full Season

Yoan Moncada has an AL-high 161 strikeouts entering play Wednesday.

Bruce Levine
August 08, 2018 - 8:13 pm
White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada

Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada has an American League-high 161 strikeouts entering Wednesday night, part of a humbling first full season in the big leagues.

Moncada's batting average has fallen recently to a season-low .217, and he has a .692 OPS. The former top-ranked player in the minor leagues, the 23-year-old Moncada has struggled and possibly hit a wall in his first full big league season.

"You are probably looking at all of his at-bats and you are thinking he may need one (day off)," manager Rick Renteria said about Moncada. "He has not come in and expressed a desire or need. This is one of those moments honestly we will probably give him one here. He needs to keep going and experience it, battle through it a bit. 

"The conversations continue with (hitting coach Todd Steverson). We will let him keep going out there. We have a natural day off tomorrow. It is important to go through his process. In the long run, I think it will help him."

Renteria is considered an expert in player development, both in his work on the field and off the field with youngsters. But as he has discovered, saddling a young player with such a heavy workload may be a counterproductive way of handling the today's young stars. With Moncada, a top prospect acquired for left-hander Chris Sale in a franchise-changing trade with the Red Sox two winters ago, maybe a few days to observe the game and get away from the grind would be good.

"Right now, I am not feeling as good as I was I was a couple of weeks ago," Moncada said. "I am trying to be more aggressive with two strikes on me. I need to defend the strike zone a little bit better. Right now, I am not feeling as good with my approach at home plate. That is probably one of the reasons I have been striking out more than I want to."

Moncada has three hits in his last 32 at-bats and has struck out 20 times in his past eight games. If that doesn't scream summer vacation or timeout, maybe nothing does.

Renteria sees pros and cons in Moncada's season to date.

"He has been very effective with all balls in the strike zone," Renteria said. "It's borderline pitches and that he seems to be having trouble with on both sides of the plate. He gets into deep counts as much as Matt Davidson. Fringe pitches he has had more trouble with. Before it was off-speed pitches that were a problem now it's borderline pitches."

Despite his strikeout totals as of late, Moncada retains great confidence. It's the plate approach that he's concerned over.

"I don't have a good feeling right now," Moncada said. "I need to keep working to start feeling comfortable again. (The coaches) have been very supportive of my approach. They are trying to give me the best advice they can. It's more about me executing. My confidence level is still high."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​