Yoán Moncada: Hyped for 2020
For all the attention paid to Tim Anderson and batting title, Lucas Giolito and his push for a Cy Young, and even newly-extended compadre Luis Robert heading into 2020, there's no more valuable Chicago White Sox player than Yoán Moncada.
The third baseman knows it, but shyly shrugs off any sort of MVP talk: "We'll see," is the biggest boast you're going to get out of him.
But Moncada was in great spirits during a Zoom conference among Chicago media on Wednesday, laughing often and seeping excitement for the 2020 season.
Starting with: the weather.
"I don't like cold weather," Moncada said when reminded he would get to avoid the wind chills and sniffles of Opening Days in Chicago and Cleveland this year. "I'm going to feel like I'm playing in Cuba!"
I asked Yoán about the strain that the delay to the season has had on him not physically in terms of keeping in shape, but mentally and emotionally, after having such a terrific 2019 season.
"This year is going to be different — I won't say more difficult, but different," he said about the pressure of expectations. "A few times when I've been at home, I've thought I've just got to get out of here and play. It's just that excitement. The season's going to be good, and I'm going to be able to show off all the things I'm usually able to do on the field."
Like James McCann and Lucas Giolito, Moncada is not bringing any family to Chicago, at least to begin the season. And among all the different factors involved in the season, one of the most prominent for Moncada will be ... the silence.
"It's going to feel weird," Moncada said of games with no fans. "It will be a challenge for us to do our best to replace the atmosphere fans bring."
One of the lighter moments came when Yoán was asked about the breaking news that, although there still is no 2020 season schedule available, apparently the St. Louis Cardinals are subbing for the New York Yankees at the Field of Dreams game in Iowa next month, hosted by the White Sox.
"I don't know much about Field of Dreams," Moncada mused, admitting he still thought the White Sox were playing the Yankees. "People come from the corn maze?"
Watch the entire video below, en español y inglés, courtesy of the Chicago White Sox (jump to the five-minute mark to catch the start of the conference):