By now you’ve likely heard about the latest trade made by the furiously rebuilding White Sox. A new crop of three prospects (and one MLB reliever) were added last night as the Sox sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. You can read up on the newly acquired minor leaguers here, led by Blake Rutherford.
Almost immediately after the trade was announced, our own Brian Bilek was first to report that baseball’s number one prospect was being promoted to the big club. Yoan Moncada is coming back to the majors, this time very likely to stay and become the team’s second baseman of the present and future. And he won’t be alone – right-handed reliever Brad Goldberg will be joining him on the journey from Charlotte.
Let’s dive into both…
There are only so many superlatives one can heap on a player before it looks less like analysis, and more like fawning. But Yoan Moncada is not only the number one prospect in the White Sox system, he’s also almost universally ranked as the top prospect in all of baseball. The switch-hitter shows vicious bat speed from both sides of the plate and projects for plus power. He runs like a deer and becomes a weapon upon reaching base. He works counts and hits the ball to all fields. He’s a physical specimen and shows premium athleticism.
But even the best prospects have flaws and areas for further development. Moncada does have substantial swing and miss in his game, chasing pitches he shouldn’t offer at a little too often. It’s likely he will go through periods (especially early on) in the majors where that is exposed and he will need to adjust. Defensively, he’s been steadily improving at second base and has all the physical tools necessary to become very good there. But at this point he’s still making mistakes more often than you want to see. Defensively, he has plenty of room to improve.
Moncada’s 2017 has been a play in three acts:
- Opened red hot, slashing .331/.401/.504 through May 15th, though he also struck out in 27.4% of his PA during that stretch. Calls for his promotion to Chicago get loud.
- After a minor wrist injury sidelined him for a couple weeks, he struggled in his return. Over his first 20 games after the time off, he hit just .153 and saw his K-rate spike to 31.1%.
- Since that time though, in 25 games, Moncada’s line has been very similar to his pre-injury levels (.316/.400/.516), and his strikeout rate has been 28%.
The ceiling that Moncada possesses is that of an All Star-level regular. Defensive struggles and that swing-and-miss mean his floor still isn’t super-high, but with his talent it’s safe to say he’s very likely to be a long-term Major Leaguer. For White Sox fans watching a flagging MLB club on the field, Moncada is an exciting addition. Even as he continues to develop, the 22-year-old will be fun to watch.
Here’s an in-person report with some video to get a deeper sense of the talent here.
This 27-year-old reliever is not among the top 100 prospects in baseball, but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s just a convenient innings-eater either. While his promotion will be overshadowed for all the obvious reasons, Goldberg could make a case to be part of the White Sox bullpen for the long term.
Brad was selected by the Sox in the 10th round of the 2013 draft, as a 23-year-old senior sign from Ohio State. His path through the minors since then has been anything but conventional. Bullet point highlights work well here:
- Played with three affiliates in his draft year, finishing in High-A with Winston-Salem, and putting up impressive numbers in 35 innings across those leagues.
- In 2014 with the Dash he opened the year as a starter, moved back to the pen after five games, and went back and forth a few more times during the year. The results weren’t pretty, with the role changes playing a factor.
- In 2015 he began again in Advanced-A ball, this time purely in relief. Not only were the results better, but Brad also went on a hardcore exercise and diet regimen that saw him lose weight and get into better physical condition. He also was reported to have added velocity to his fastball at this point. And oh by the way, finished his degree at Ohio State as well.
- In 2016, Goldberg threw just four times for AA Birmingham before being promoted to AAA Charlotte. In the offseason, the White Sox added him to the 40-man roster, further cementing their view that he had a major league future.
That takes us to 2017. I saw Brad live in Charlotte in May – you can read the report and watch the video here. Goldberg’s bread and butter is combination of two fastballs. The four-seamer runs 94 to 98 typically, but has touched 99 at least a few times and there was an unconfirmed report of 100. The other fastball – either a cutter or 2-seamer – runs more low 90’s and is pretty heavy. Then there’s a slider in the mid-to-upper 80’s that gets mixed reviews, and reportedly a change-up but my look didn’t include that offering. Command looked good in my viewing, as he worked both sides of the plate.
This isn’t technically Goldberg’s major league debut, as he did make one appearance on June 3rd which didn’t go so well. That was one outing though and should probably just be tossed out. Whether or not he can stick in the majors this time will be dictated by two factors – command generally, and how effective his slider and/or change-up can become.
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