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White Sox getting glimpse of exciting next wave

Moncada, Robert, Jimenez combine for 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBIs
@scottmerkin
February 25, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – During Monday’s 4-4 Cactus League tie with the Giants, the Next Sox provided a little hint of what the White Sox will look like in the not-too-distant future. Yoan Moncada had two hits, both from the right side, giving him four hits overall in a pair of

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – During Monday’s 4-4 Cactus League tie with the Giants, the Next Sox provided a little hint of what the White Sox will look like in the not-too-distant future.

Yoan Moncada had two hits, both from the right side, giving him four hits overall in a pair of Spring Training contests. He also showed off the speed component of his game with an RBI triple to left-center in the third.

Luis Robert fell behind with two swinging strikes against Derek Holland in the second before lacing a third straight offspeed pitch down the left-field line for a two-run triple. Robert, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the White Sox No. 4 prospect, spoke postgame about not expecting the pitch he received at 0-2, but he took advantage of the location being a bit higher.

Catcher Zack Collins, Chicago's No. 8 prospect, walked and threw out a baserunner trying to steal third to end the eighth. And Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 3 among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects overall, lined a single off pitcher Drew Pomeranz's backside and followed with a stolen base.

White Sox fans would like to see this same collective output for 150 games per season on a yearly basis. The players involved are ready for that bright future.

“It always feels good when you are playing around young guys here that have talent,” said Robert through interpreter Billy Russo. “For us, it’s always good to have good games and just to think about what we can be able to do when we reach the Majors together. It will be very special for us.”

“I know the future is going to be awesome,” Jimenez said.

Aside from one foul grounder, Moncada had nothing hit in his direction during his first Cactus League game at third base on Saturday against the A’s in Mesa. But Moncada didn’t have to wait long for action Monday.

Cameron Maybin’s leadoff grounder in the first inning deflected by starting pitcher Manny Banuelos and resulted in a bare-hand pickup by Moncada and a perfect throw to first baseman Jose Abreu for the first out. The White Sox know Moncada’s immense skill set will play athletically and defensively in his shift from second base to the hot corner. They also believe the move will help his focus offensively.

“Maybe third base will keep him more engaged in the game just in general, and maybe that can just continue to enhance his ability to manage the bat at the plate,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It is more instinctive, but he's got a real good feel.”

“You have less things to be concerned or to be aware of,” said Moncada through Russo. “Second base, there are many things happening and you have to be very active with your mind. At third base, it’s more like just react, and that gives you more time to focus on your offense.”

Moncada played third in Cuba and briefly for the Red Sox, so he has little doubt about the infield adjustment. He also feels good about his swing.

“I’m feeling very very comfortable,” Moncada said. “I’ve been working for a long time now, just on my swing and my offense, and I just want to keep that moving on because I really feel that this is going to be a very good year for me.”

This move to third opens up a future spot at second for Nick Madrigal, the team’s top pick in the 2018 Draft and its No. 5 prospect, who also played Monday. If these players eventually pan out close to how they looked on Monday, the young White Sox options appear bountiful.

“Really fun when you play in the same lineup with the guys you will play with in the future,” Jimenez said. “It’s really awesome.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.