Moncada aiming for Major heights in 2017

Top prospect feels he's ready to play for White Sox

Moncada aiming for Major heights in 2017

CHICAGO -- There was no big league timetable set by Yoan Moncada when presented with that question during a visit to Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago on Thursday during an event taking place one day prior to the start of SoxFest.

But the 21-year-old switch-hitter sounds like a player who intends to be with the White Sox sooner than later during the 2017 season.

"Yes, of course. That's everyone's expectations when you are a player," Moncada said through White Sox interpreter Billy Russo. "I just want to show them what I can do during Spring Training and that I'm ready to play in the big leagues."

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Moncada gave the White Sox a taste of his ability during a three-day hitters mini-camp this month at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. He had the chance to meet new teammates after being acquired from Boston as the centerpiece of the Chris Sale deal, and will have the same opportunity this weekend at the Hilton Chicago.

Last season, Moncada had a short callup to the Majors, where he batted .211 with one RBI and one extra-base hit over 20 plate appearances. That eight-game appearance didn't go exactly as Moncada desired, but it served as a good learning device for the future.

"It was a meaningful experience for me. It was something unique," Moncada said. "I learned that this is a process. I have to make adjustments once I reach the Majors.

"You have to know what you can do to get better and that's where I can learn from experience. You can't be comfortable in what you are doing. You have to look for ways to get better, too."

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David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez were two Red Sox veterans mentioned by Moncada as sources of help and information last season, as well as the coaches. White Sox manager Rick Renteria will be one of those individuals providing Moncada assistance this season, along with shortstop Tim Anderson, who doesn't exactly stand as a seasoned veteran entering his first full campaign as a Major Leaguer after a standout rookie effort.

"I'm going to help him as much as I can," said Anderson, who was at the same event Thursday morning with Renteria, Moncada and Lucas Giolito. "I'm sure he's going to help me. We'll get each other better up the middle. It's someone I'm going to work with for a while, so I have to know him real well."

White Sox director of player development Chris Getz went no further at the mini-camp than stating Moncada will be in big league camp and they will go from there. With Brett Lawrie, Tyler Saladino and Carlos Sanchez on the depth chart at second, Moncada certainly won't be rushed, and he figures to open the season at Triple-A Charlotte.

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Moncada is the White Sox future, but he has the confidence to make that future begin almost immediately.

"I feel I can handle that situation very well," Moncada said. "I feel very comfortable about myself. I know what kind of player I am. I don't feel any pressure. I feel pressure because I know what I can do, not because what other people think I can do."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.