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Moncada hopes to stay at second base in '19

White Sox discuss tough season; club faces questions at catching position
September 30, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- When the 2018 season ends, Yoan Moncada will be listed as the White Sox starting second baseman. The 23-year-old hopes to maintain that position in the depth chart going into 2019."I hope so," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "I hope to keep playing second base. They told

MINNEAPOLIS -- When the 2018 season ends, Yoan Moncada will be listed as the White Sox starting second baseman. The 23-year-old hopes to maintain that position in the depth chart going into 2019.
"I hope so," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "I hope to keep playing second base. They told me, and I think that you probably saw the last couple of weeks, I was taking ground balls at shortstop and at third base. But yeah, I want to stay as a second baseman."
Moncada has committed 20 errors in '18, a stat not unexpected for a player in his first full year at second. But he's also shown the ability to handle the position and has been adept at turning the double play.
General manager Rick Hahn was asked about Moncada switching positions during his year-end interview session last Wednesday. His answer was steeped more in the hypothetical.
"It's conceivable if we made a decision as an organization to try him elsewhere that we would do it as soon as this offseason or next Spring Training, you'd see it in action," Hahn said. "He has made a great deal of progress at second base.
"I also think he has the athleticism to be an above-average defender at other positions, too. It's a subject for further conversation. But as he sits here today, I am pleased with the progress and the pitch-to-pitch focus and the athleticism, the arm strength, and foot movement and his hands at second base."
Renteria hopes to see better results
This losing season for the White Sox becomes another part of the rebuild process, an up-and-down Year 2 Hahn predicted could be a tough one some 11 months ago. But the rough results don't have the White Sox coming close to accepting failure because of the situation.
"A realistic view of how things have gone or not gone, how they believe they've performed either individually or collectively, at least it shows ownership, accountability, any of those terms that you might want to use in order to describe what you like or don't like about how the season has gone," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "There have been huge strides taken in different players, but you can't win with individuals.
"You've got to be a team. Certainly, to be able to compete and win at the Major League level, everyone has to be able to contribute in a way where collectively it all comes together."
Renteria pointed to Yolmer Sanchez, Adam Engel and Matt Davidson as high-energy guys trying to give everything possible in helping the team. Everybody else tries to present that same type of all-out effort, Renteria added.

"Obviously, we have still a long way to go," Renteria said. "We have a lot of improvement to go within the club and within the organization to continue to recognize and see who those guys are going to be who are going to be the future and are going to help us ultimately attain what we're looking to attain."
Catching on
It will be difficult for the White Sox to keep three catchers during the 2019 season. And with Welington Castillo under contract for '19 with a club option for '20, Omar Narvaez or Kevan Smith would be the odd man out.
"What will happen with the ones who are not here, baseball will let us know," Renteria said. "They've done a great job, they've picked us up when we needed them. Both Narvy and Smitty did a great job.
"There is nothing I can tell you in stone where we're going to be at with those guys. Both of them took up a lot of the blow and did a great job handling the guys we have."

Renteria described Castillo's in-game adjustments with pitchers as "beyond reproach" and said he's also a good hitter.
"Ask any of the pitchers," Renteria said. "He sits down with them, and they go through every possible situation before it happens to get them through those situations. He's also had a lot of impact on the other catchers, [had] conversations with them as well during games."

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