Yoan Moncada alone is not going to prevent the Chicago White Sox from finishing with the worst record in the American League this season.
But when the touted prospect joined the Sox last Wednesday, a positive change could be felt in the air.
“I think it’s the beginning of what hopefully will be a transition to a lot of the youth we’ve been accumulating in the system,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Everybody should be excited about that. I know we are.”
Outside of Moncada, there’s not much happening with the current White Sox to prompt excitement.
But as they prepare for four straight interleague games against the crosstown Chicago Cubs, let’s project what the 2020 Sox’s starting lineup is going to look like. That is the first year they should be viewed as legitimate contenders.
First base — Gavin Sheets
Jose Abreu is still doing damage in the middle of the White Sox’s lineup, and he’s also a great mentor for Moncada.
On the flip side, Abreu’s contract is up after 2019.
Sheets, a polished college hitter drafted on the second round last month, is going be ready in ’20, if not before.
Second base — Moncada
He’s already showing why he was baseball’s No. 1 prospect.
In three more years, Moncada should be an all-star candidate.
Shortstop — Tim Anderson
He has struggled this year, his first full season in the majors.
By 2020, Anderson should be completely settled in, a more consistent hitter and a much better defender. That’s what the White Sox are hoping, and that’s why they gave Anderson a six-year, $25 million contract extension in March.
Third base — Jake Burger
The Sox’s first-round draft pick this year, Burger is off to a fast start as a professional.
In Thursday’s game for low Class A Kannapolis, Burger was 5-for-5 with 2 doubles a triple and 2 RBI.
Catcher — Zack Collins
The White Sox’s first-round draft pick in 2016, Collins has been flashing impressive power with 5 home runs in 10 games for high A Winston-Salem.
Collins has been on a mission to prove he can stick as a catcher, and he has thrown out 37 of 91 attempted basestealers, a 41 percent success rate.
Left field — Blake Rutherford
Acquired in the trade that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to Yankees, the 20-year-old Rutherford is ranked No. 36 on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list.
Rutherford is playing for Kannapolis.
Center field — Luis Robert
Baseball America’s No. 45 best prospect, the 19-year-old Robert received a $26 million signing bonus when he agreed to a minor-league deal with the Sox in late May.
Robert has missed most of July with a meniscus injury in his left knee, but he should be back with the Dominican Summer League White Sox at some point this week.
Right field — Eloy Jimenez
Acquired from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade, Jimenez might turn out to be a better player than Moncada.
Jimenez, 20, has been tearing up the Carolina League since joining Winston-Salem. He is No. 5 overall on Baseball America’s prospect list.
Designated hitter — Avisail Garcia or Matt Davidson
They are on the current roster, and one or both might still be with the White Sox in 2020 to fill the DH role.