Moncada views 2018 as learning experience

White Sox second baseman's goal is to keep improving for '19

September 12th, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- As the 2018 season winds down for , there are a few admissions the White Sox second baseman can make concerning his first full big league season.

For starters, Moncada admits to hanging his head at times in a somewhat uneven performance, including a .224 average, .695 OPS and a Major League-high 196 strikeouts over 522 at-bats entering Wednesday's series finale against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

"It happened to me a few times," said Moncada, who outwardly has been the picture of calm and steadiness, through interpreter Billy Russo. "Some games when things weren't, they weren't going the way I wanted. Some games that I struck out in a big moment or have too many strikeouts.

"Those games were kind of tough for me to digest. But I learned that I just have to leave this game in the past. I did it. Now, I just think tomorrow is another day, another opportunity. I will have the opportunity to do better. And that's the way I approach this game, those situations. Just with a better and positive attitude and mindset."

That understanding leads to a second Moncada revelation in that he doesn't consider 2018 a bad season at all. There are things he needs to improve, a fact from which Moncada doesn't hide. But important factors exist for Moncada beyond the numbers.

"I wouldn't say it has been a successful season, but it has been a good season from the point of view of experience and development. That's the way that I see it right now," Moncada said. "I've learned a few things. I will say the most important is being able to make adjustments as quick as possible, even during the games.

"You can't wait for the next day or next game. You have to make adjustments right away. Another one is just to be calm, play with calm and confidence in yourself. And the third one is be aggressive. Be aggressive every time."

Moncada's aggressiveness produced a slight dip in strikeouts recently, with 13 over his previous 56 plate appearances entering Wednesday. He also had just one home run and one double in that same 14-game stretch.

Although this season hasn't been perfect, Moncada isn't taking an attitude of looking forward to it ending. Instead, he's more excited about applying what he now knows to 2019 and beyond.

"Absolutely. I just want to finish this season as strong as possible and just to put in practice what I've been learning this season," Moncada said. "That's my plan for next year, to put in play all the things I learned.

"Keep up with the development process because I still know that I can do better, I can develop as a better player. That's my goal for next season: try to work harder in every aspect of the game, my defense, offense and my running game."

Assessing Baltimore

Even with Hurricane Florence heading towards parts of the South and Southeast, the White Sox look as if they will miss the brunt of its full force during their weekend series against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Friday's forecast shows an 80 percent chance for thunderstorms, but that chance dips to 20 percent and cloudy on Saturday and Sunday.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria has a view well beyond baseball in this instance.

"I know we want to play our games, but we're also very aware of how many people it can affect over there," Renteria said. "Hopefully people are heeding the warnings and getting themselves out of harm's way. I know everybody is doing the best they can along the coast to prepare for it.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get through this, manage it. Hopefully the people who are actually going to be hit with this are going to be able to get through it."

Third to first

• The White Sox had struck out 1,401 times entering Wednesday, the most in the Majors and the single-season high in franchise history.

reached base safely in 27 of his previous 28 games, hitting safely in 24 of those, entering Wednesday.