Hyped White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada set for first spring start vs. Cubs

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada brings with him a lot of hype when he starts at second base at Sloan Park in his first taste of the Cubs-Sox rivalry Monday afternoon in Mesa.He is ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, was the centerpiece of a...

Hyped White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada set for first spring start vs. Cubs

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada brings with him a lot of hype when he starts at second base at Sloan Park in his first taste of the Cubs-Sox rivalry Monday afternoon in Mesa.He is ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, was the centerpiece of a...

27 February 2017 Monday 14:03
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Hyped White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada set for first spring start vs. Cubs

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada brings with him a lot of hype when he starts at second base at Sloan Park in his first taste of the Cubs-Sox rivalry Monday afternoon in Mesa.

He is ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, was the centerpiece of a trade with the Red Sox that convinced the Sox to part with Chris Sale and has drawn comparisons to seven-time All-Star Robinson Cano.

But Moncada doesn’t appear to mind such lofty expectations.  

"For sure, those things motivate you," Moncada said through a team interpreter. "When you’re compared to those types of players, one of the best in baseball, you want to push yourself more to the limits and to prove what you can do, to show them what you’re able to do."

However, the first two weeks of spring training have been about more work than show for Moncada.

He has played in two Cactus League games entering Monday’s contest, going 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.

He said the Sox under new manager Rick Renteria are instilling a mentality to improve in all aspects of the game, but defense certainly has been a focus for the 21-year-old second baseman. Renteria said early on they were trying to help Moncada stabilize his lower half so he is more balanced.

Photos as the White Sox practice at spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

"It’s nothing really hard, but you have to make adjustments," Moncada said. "I’m trying to have my legs a little more open (in my stance)."

Beyond the field, Moncada said he has been happy with the atmosphere of his new team. Moncada’s locker sits right next to first baseman Jose Abreu in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, and he said the fellow Cuban has been helping him adjust.

"He gives me advice about at-bats, games, what you have to do here to prepare yourself to get ready for the game and the season," Moncada said. "It’s good. I feel happy. ... We played together in Cuba, but this time it is different. We're older and it’s different.”

As for facing the Cubs, Moncada said he is ready.

"I’m excited to see them and the atmosphere against them," he said.

ckane@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribKane

Caption Miguel Gonzalez, Jose Quintana on their 2017 Cactus League debuts

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Miguel Gonzalez, Jose Quintana on their 2017 Cactus League debuts

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon talks about first bullpen

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox catcher Zack Collins on his Catcus League debut

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Carson Fulmer on pitching two scoreless innings in spring opener

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

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