In this retrospect we will be taking a look into the middle infield. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada had average seasons with some speed bumps for both. They both had their own issues opposite sides of the game, Yoan struggled with his strikeouts and Tim with his defense in the first half. Tim found his groove both having fun, which ruffled the feathers of a couple “keepers of the game”, and at the plate by getting on base via the free pass. So let’s take a closer look at them.
First is Yoan Moncada at second base, he made 91 percent of the games there and was easily the most polarizing regular player on the team this year. Striking out and drawing the ire of many fans already calling him a bust and other fans playing the “be patient he’s really still a rookie” card. No matter how you look at it, his strikeouts have always been a concern for Yoan, even back in Boston. Now his 217 strikeouts this season,33.4 of his plate appearances, is a bit high, but not unprecedented and in the 3 true outcome baseball it’s more common, he just needs to add a bit of power to his swing. He has always also been known for his keen batting eye and pitch selection though, that can come as both an advantage and a disadvantage, sure youll draw your fair share of walks but selectivity could also cause you to get rung up by an umpire whose eye is not as good as yours. These are the pitches that Moncada didn’t offer at on all plate appearances, this is the the ones he didn’t offer at with 2 strikes. Those charts are not to say all umps stink, but to show that maybe the biggest thing Yoan can do to change is strikeout luck is to be more aggressive earlier in the count identifying his pitches.
Tim Anderson was Yoan’s double play partner and also played 91 percent of games. Like Matt Davidson Tim wanted to make himself more useful by getting on base more often via the free pass, he did that by more than doubling his 2017 walk rate of 2.1 to an even 5.0 in 2018. The attention to plate discipline didn’t sap his power, actually he had a career high isolated power of .161 and a .294 wOBA. In the first half of the year he was a bit shaky defensively but he righted the ship the second half and ended up with an overall respectable to even good total defensive season. He made 47.4 percent of his 19 “even” outs, 70.1 percent of his 41 “likely” plays and 96.6 percent of his 443 “routine” chances. He was also a part of 73 double plays this season, either started, turned, or finished.
The middle infield combo accounted for 4.0 wins above replacement this season, and showed some chemistry. All season there was chatter about the possibility of either of both not playing middle infielder, GM Rick Hahn has already said that they are exploring the possibility of Yoan playing a different position, and some say that Anderson could see time in the outfield. If neither of those things happen this middle infield is serviceable and could be a part of the future but with improvements possible in the system other avenues may be explored.
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