Sox Considering Anderson, Moncada At Leadoff

The White Sox could use them interchangeably depending on the matchup.

Bruce Levine
February 21, 2020 - 12:26 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- When Cactus League play starts Saturday, White Sox manager Rick Renteria will ramp up his evaluation process of who should lead off for his club.

He's considering two options: shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada. Renteria has already decided the duo will hit first and second in some form.

"I am certainly considering both Timmy Anderson and Yoan Moncada at the top of the order," Renteria said. "If you are getting on base by either a walk or base hit becomes kind of a wash for me. The difference would be if some individuals can take pitchers into a deeper count in an at-bat. Even if they don't walk a lot and still have a high average, they foul off balls and drive up the pitch counts."

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Anderson is more of the free swinger of the two, as he won the American League batting crown with a .335 average in 2019. He walked just 15 times and posted a .357 on-base percentage. The switch-hitter Moncada batted .315 with 40 walks and posted a .367 on-base percentage. 

Renteria could use them interchangeably at leadoff depending on the pitching matchup.

"It may depend on who we are facing," Renteria said. "That would certainly give me something to think about. If Timmy is leading off and you have the first baseman holding him on, I have Moncada hitting left-handed (and) you have that hole on the left side. We have multiple guys now that could hit anywhere one through five if you are looking at the base factor.

"There is a balance you want to approach with these guys. I am hoping we can move from one to another, and it comes to be somewhere in the middle. We hope they can be aggressive at times early in counts and also be patient and work counts in others."

Anderson has the most speed, having stolen 26 bases in 2018 and 17 last season. Renteria indicated he will get the chance to run again this season. Moncada has a combined 22 stolen bases in the past two seasons. 

Renteria likes the idea of speedy players at the top of the order, knowing their wheels can be utilized more often to score on routine base hits with run producers added to the middle of the order in catcher Yasmani Grandal and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.

"We are now looking at two guys at the top of the order who can run a little bit," Renteria said of Anderson and Moncada. "We are hoping to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us."

The White Sox aren't considering using rookie center fielder Luis Robert near the top of the order at this time, Renteria said. The plan is the same for touted prospect Nick Madrigal, who's expected to become the everyday second baseman once he's called up -- likely early in the regular season. 

Renteria doesn't want to put too much pressure on the youngsters early.

"I wouldn't consider Robert today to be the leadoff hitter," Renteria said. "We have enough guys for that role that we can let Robert transition in the lower part of the order right now. We expect as he develops, he can be another guy who can hit anywhere between one to five in the order."

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