CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada does not change.Sure, the White Sox second baseman feels more comfortable with each game he plays at the Major League level. His approach at the plate continues to be refined.But in terms of his demeanor, the 22-year-old stays even-keeled whether he's in a 10-for-20 hot streak
CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada does not change.
Sure, the White Sox second baseman feels more comfortable with each game he plays at the Major League level. His approach at the plate continues to be refined.
But in terms of his demeanor, the 22-year-old stays even-keeled whether he's in a 10-for-20 hot streak or hitting .216 through nine games, as his average checked in before Tuesday's contest with the Rays.
"I'm always the same. I understand this is a game and you are going to have ups and downs," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "You are not going to take anything good if after a bad game you are going to change your mood or you are going to put your head down.
"You have to understand that probably you have a bad day today, tomorrow is another opportunity to have a good game. The only thing you have to do is keep working hard and keep grinding. You can't beat yourself."
Statcast™ numbers show Moncada's struggles might be the result of tough luck.
In the category of highest hard-hit rate, representing the percentage of batted balls with 95-plus mph exit velocity, Moncada leads baseball at 68.2 percent (based on a minimum 20 batted balls). Moncada also leads in highest average exit velocity at 97.2 mph, edging out Christian Yelich (97.1), Marcell Ozuna (96.7), Jose Cabrera (95.7) and Robinson Cano (95.2).
Moncada is 7-for-15 on batted balls with an exit velocity greater than 95 mph, with his expected batting average (which determines how a player should fare based on batted balls with similar launch angles and exit velocities) is 57 points higher than his .216 actual average. It would be easy for Moncada to get frustrated with hard-hit grounders or fly balls finding opposing gloves, but that's not really his style.
"Sometimes you can get frustrated, but at the same time, you have to understand this is a game. And if you are hitting the ball hard, you know that you are doing what you are supposed to do," Moncada said. "Sooner rather than later, all those connections are going to find an empty space to fall in.
"I've been feeling good. The outcomes haven't been as good as everybody wants, but I know that if I keep my approach and my routine, the good results are going to come."
Kopech makes strong debut
Right-hander Michael Kopech, the No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, fanned eight over four scoreless innings during his 2018 debut for Triple-A Charlotte on Monday at Norfolk. He allowed two hits and walked two.
Kopech is expected to pitch for the White Sox at some point this season. But manager Rick Renteria spoke Tuesday about Kopech focusing on fastball command, his changeup and getting his innings up.
"He's been doing much better with it. He's getting a better feel for it," said Renteria of Kopech's change. "Just continue to pitch and get innings under his belt. The reality is these guys still have to expand their innings. He's in a situation in which he's discovering what he continues to become and hopefully that's going to be a top line, quality big league pitcher."
Third to first
The White Sox took pregame batting practice for the first time on this homestand. The team tried earlier, but frozen ground due to the extreme spring cold prevented that from happening.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.