HOUSTON -- Top young White Sox players, such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer, have produced less-than-stellar or less-than-expected overall individual results during the course of the 2018 season.But in some ways, this short-term failure and, more important, how these key future components
HOUSTON -- Top young White Sox players, such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer, have produced less-than-stellar or less-than-expected overall individual results during the course of the 2018 season.
But in some ways, this short-term failure and, more important, how these key future components handle said failure becomes a crucial part of the rebuild process.
"Unfortunately this is an extremely difficult game, and there are going to be periods of time where players are going to struggle," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "How they use the tools they are equipped with to pull themselves out of those struggles is every bit as important as the success they might be having over small spurts of times, in terms of putting them in a position to succeed over the long term."
"You want them to go through these struggles, so when you do sense yourself going down a similar road in the future, you've got something to go back to," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "This was the correction I need to do so the valley is not as deep. That's part of this whole process we are going through right now. That's why I feel like it should be more sustainable, because there are so many learning experiences along the way here."
Intense interest placed upon these potential standouts often leads to snap and needless judgements regarding their futures. Moncada struggled for a prolonged 45-game stretch coming off the disabled list, and he's not the player the White Sox thought they were getting in the Chris Sale deal. Moncada has a .296/.321/.556 slash line in July with four extra-base hits and six RBIs, going into Saturday's game against the Astros.
"Listen, there's no perfect player out there," Getz said. "A lot of these players, it's really important for them to go through these struggles, so to speak. When we are at a certain point, it's only going to make them better. It truly is."
Hahn gets the desire for immediate success. But at such an early stage of development, the entire process ultimately is more important than results from game to game or, at times, even week to week.
"There's definitely a roller-coaster element to this as you go through the development of young players," Hahn said. "If you get too caught up on the short term, you could wind up making rash and improper evaluations of guys instead of looking at the body of work over an extended period of time. We try to set up very clear developmental milestones we want to see them reach.
"You have to look at how well they are reaching those milestones and the progress in each of those areas as opposed to a 2-for-20 stretch or a couple of bad outings. We don't get too hung up on a single start or single week of at-bats. We look more at the work and what they are trying to accomplish, what they are knocking off that list. Successful results will follow."
Moncada staying put
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Moncada isn't going anywhere, except second base for the big league team.
Sending him to the Minors "is not something that we are thinking about right now," Renteria said.
"He has high expectations, he feels a sense of wanting to deal with those, and wants to show everyone what he can do," said Renteria of the 23-year-old, who has a .230 average and 52 extra-base hits through 142 career games. "There are moments where he shows well and moments when he doesn't.
"You have a lot of conversations with the young man to make sure he deals with all aspects of it, whether it be energy level, hustle, whatever the case might be, fielding ground balls. He's working very, very hard."
Cooper has title memories
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball and director of conditioning Allen Thomas are the lone remaining members of the on-field staff from the 2005 World Series title sweep over Houston, completed at Minute Maid Park.
Cooper still has many memories of that moment 13 years ago, while working to move this young team to another title.
"I remember the last out. Bobby [Jenks] trying to jump for the ground ball and I remember saying, 'Don't touch it,' and just the relief and the joy of it," Cooper said. "I remember saying 'World champions. World champions.' Not the state, not the district, not the diocese. We were the world champs. That was humbling."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.