The glamour from the month of April sure wore off in a hurry. The Sox are currently sliding, and beginning to look like the team we expected to see. They are exactly who we thought they were, currently sitting at 17-19, in fourth place in the AL Central.
As they continue to slide down the standings the trade chatter will ratchet up, and the Sox have a great volume of pieces to move before the deadline. We’ve already discussed Jose Quintana at large, but guys like Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez, David Robertson and the rest of the bullpen are also pieces that could be moved by the deadline with a great return.
The goal here is obviously to acquire more and more prospects to continue to build the organizational foundation that Rick and the Sox front office are looking to create. It’s been the word on everybody’s lips in White Sox nation: rebuild. But with that comes the responsibility of managing prospect development, draft picks, call-ups, etc.
I’m eagerly anticipating the day when we are all arguing about prospect call-ups to a contending Sox team, but today is definitely not that day. Right now the prospect conversation revolves around one name: Yoan Moncada.
Moncada, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, has been raking in Triple-A Charlotte. He’s currently hitting .331, with six home runs, 46 hits, 15 RBI’s. Moncada’s slash line is also a thing of beauty: .401/.504/.331/.905. He’s been down a bit from his peak a few weeks ago, but the numbers still show that Moncada might be ready for the show.
Monday, May 15th was a very important day for the White Sox. That deadline means that the Sox can now call up Moncada at any point without losing any future control.
Moncada’s call-up has been the talk of the South Side recently. People are speculating dates that he may be called up and arguing over those random dates. Then there is Rick Hahn coming out and basically saying that the Sox have no intentions of rushing Moncada up anytime soon. A massive, but necessary, buzz kill.
I initially believed he may get the call-up in late May (I went on record predicting the Boston series in Chicago, because that would be too perfect). Now after hearing Hahn and other smart people’s comments it looks like that date could be some time in July, or even later.
Here are Hahn’s comments on Moncada back on May 9th:
“He’s shown a fair amount of progress in each of those areas that we’ve asked of him,” Hahn said. “That said, we want to see that over an extended period of time. It’s awfully important to not lose sight of the fact this is a 21-year-old player, one who was not playing two years ago as of right now. It’s a guy who has fewer than 325 or so plate appearances above A-ball.
So we think the world of his talent and future and we think he is responding to the challenges we put ahead of him, but we’re not going to rush this.”
I’ll probably be saying it until I’m blue in the face. The White Sox are looking for sustained success. There is absolutely no reason for them to rush Moncada, or any prospect for that matter, up to the major leagues before they are 100% ready. They aren’t going to be competing this year, and most likely next year. They’re going to be making many more trades in the coming months that are only going to bolster one of the already top prospect pipelines in baseball. They need to let these kids cook.
Here are the latest rankings of the White Sox best prospects from Future Sox (a website you should familiarize yourselves with). Following Moncada you have guys like Giolito, Kopech, Lopez, Collins, Fulmer, Hansen, Burdi, and a host of others. There are players like Nicky Delmonico, Danny Hayes and Jacob May who have been mashing in Charlotte. On the mound, Dane Dunning has been fantastic in Winston-Salem, and Burdi and Lopez have been lights out for the Knights as well. It’s been fantastic to follow. You can see the seeds being planted as we speak. But the White Sox have made it clear that they have no intentions of rushing these guys up before they’re absolutely ready, a mistake they may have made with Tim Anderson *(Of course the night I write this Timmy hits a clutch go-ahead home run in extras. This isn’t to say he can’t be an MLB shortstop, but just making a case that more time in the minors may have been helpful to his development).
The Sox are way closer to the beginning of this rebuild than they are to the end of it. This thing is going to take time and patience, on all accounts. You cannot rush rebuilding a franchise from top to bottom, just ask the Cubs. That plan took over five years to complete. Granted the White Sox have better parts in place right now than the Cubs did circa 2010, but the point is still valid.
The aforementioned trades, that will almost certainly happen, will only make the White Sox prospect depth better, if you can believe that. It’s pretty dang good as is. Those trades will change everything, in a positive way of course.
Another thing to watch is the Luis Robert signing that will be happening in the coming days. Jon Heyman said earlier this week that at this point he would be surprised if the Cuban sensation didn’t end up with the White Sox. If Robert does sign to play on the south side, many are projecting him to walk in as a Top 5 prospect in the system. Potentially higher than the Sox first round pick in the upcoming MLB Draft. That just shows how good Robert could be.
So there’s certainly a lot to be watching for in the coming months if you’re a Sox fan. These days will be critical steps for this rebuild. Hopefully they are steps that we can look back on fondly in a few years.
All of that to basically say this, as much fun as it is to be excited about Yoan Moncada (which is totally justified) don’t expect him to be up in black pinstripes any time soon. If anything you should wish for as late of a call-up as possible. He already looks the part, but there’s still no reason to rush him up. That policy must apply for every prospect in the system over the coming years.
That patience will almost certainly pay off in the long run.