By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — One is hitting .239 on the season, the other .189, respectively. But the batting averages should be better as time goes on for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and second baseman Yoan Moncada, likely the most-talked about White Sox keystone combo since the days of Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox.
As they take their lumps in the field and at bat, the two youthful middle infielders give the White Sox hope of an All-Star duo manning the middle of the diamond for years to come.
Neither player has shown an inclination to take a walk as a part of their approach. Entering play Wednesday, Anderson has just 25 walks in 894 plate appearances during his first two big league seasons. That’s only one walk for nearly every 36 plate appearances, with a strikeout rate of around 27 percent.
Called up from Triple-A in July, Moncada had drawn 18 walks in 115 plate appearances entering Wednesday. He has struck out 37 percent of the time this season.
Letting young players with great ability find their own way of learning the strike zone is something all player-development coaches struggle with. The White Sox are no different.
“For them, we don’t talk in terms of walking,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “We talk to them about swinging at strikes. That thinking puts you in a situation of not swinging at balls. That will eventually get you a walk over an extended period of time.
“For Moncada, we are hoping to see him barrel up the baseball on off-speed pitches, instead of the swing and the miss. This is all about pitch identity and depth of the pitches he will see.”
Anderson has had a different path to the big leagues at the plate, Renteria pointed out.
“Tim has always been an aggressive fastball hitter,” Renteria said. “We do see him chase breaking balls in the dirt out of the zone. Even in the minor leagues, he had high chase rate of breaking balls. Again, this is an identification and recognition of depth and velocity process. This all comes with experience.”
Time will be the best ally of both Anderson and Moncada.
“Hitting is a process, and baseball itself is a process,” hitting coach Todd Steverson said. “You must let these guys go through it. They both have been scouted on MLB. The other teams will see how far a rope you will put your self out there with. If you chase, they will throw it a little further outside until you adjust. It is up to each guy to create their own scouting report. The more that Tim and Moncada take quality at-bats, the more they will know they must come in and pitch to you.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.