Moncada devotes extra time to offense

Intensive sessions with Renteria, Steverson involved drills, watching video

December 3rd, 2018

CHICAGO -- One or two weeks before the 2018 season ended, told White Sox manager Rick Renteria and hitting coach Todd Steverson he wanted to work.

Not more of the diligent work consistently put in by the second baseman throughout the previous campaign, marking Moncada's first full season in the Majors. Not the regular offseason work planned by Moncada leading into 2019.

Moncada, 23, wanted to focus specifically on his hitting with Renteria and Steverson after striking out 217 times and hitting .235 with a .714 OPS. Camelback Ranch, the White Sox Spring Training home in Glendale, Ariz., made the most sense for this intensive study session covering a few offseason weeks.

"They agreed," Moncada told, through interpreter Billy Russo, during a recent phone interview. "And we made a plan."

Moncada has since returned to his Florida home, but he raved about the benefits gained. He did some reaction drills and watched a lot of video with Steverson and Renteria, among the adjustments and corrections made.

"That experience helped me a lot to learn, to understand things that I probably did during the season that I didn't realize," Moncada said. "It also helped me to have a better mindset about the decisions that I need to make on the field to be a good player.

"We had a lot of conversations about a lot of different stuff. Right now, I am in a better position to succeed and to be a better player next season. It was a very good experience overall."

Defense was not a focus for Moncada during this workout, and at this point, Moncada remains the team's starting second baseman. In 149 games at second in 2018, Moncada committed 21 errors and per FanGraphs, he had minus-5 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-3.7 Ultimate Zone Rating.

General manager Rick Hahn reiterated Friday there has been talk about moving Moncada to third, but it's nothing the White Sox will commit to until a little deeper into the offseason when they see how things play out. Moncada acknowledged the White Sox asked him how he felt playing third base, and he told them he felt good. It was a position Moncada played for five games in 2016 with the Red Sox.

"Yeah, we haven't had too much conversation about that," Moncada said. "If they ask me to move, I'm going to do it, and I know that my job is just to help the team the best way I can.

"I just will need repetitions and work on a daily basis there. But because I played that position before, I don't think that's going to be a major problem if it happened."

Ultimately, Moncada just wants to help the White Sox win a World Series championship as his original team recently completed in five games against the Dodgers. The onetime top-rated prospect per MLB Pipeline readily admits his first full season wasn't as strong as the lofty expectations he set, but it also wasn't as bad as people think.

"Fans by nature, they have really high expectations always," Moncada said. "It doesn't matter who the player is, but for a young player or prospect, I think the expectations are even higher. I get it. I also have high expectations for myself.

"But we all have to understand that this is a process, and part of the process is you are going to have mixed results. As a player, the things you can control are just put yourself in the best position to succeed and give 100 percent every time you are on the field. You can't judge a player's career just from his first season. You have to be patient."