Yoan Moncada is the most talked about White Sox player in the first half of the 2018 season and with good reason, he was the lynch pin of the big Chris Sale trade that was made in the 2016 Hot Stove season. White Sox twitter has bounced ferociously around with its early opinions on Yoan, they have bound from future superstar to current bust and everywhere in between. The majority of the concerns related to Yoan Moncada’s player profile, going back to his days as a Carmine’s farmhand, have to do with strike out rate. Early in his career, Yoan is striking out at a 34% (which is 4th highest out of qualified hitters, Matt Davidson sitting directly ahead of him at 36%), which is just enough to keep us all a little bit concerned. The interesting part (at least to White Sox fans) is that a non-inconsequential portion of Moncada’s K’s are of the backward variety and even further, many of these have been on questionable calls, either on the final pitch of the at bat or somewhere along the way. These things are Enrico Pallazzo in Naked Gun bad. The frequent posting on twitter of the mlb.com gameday feed screenshots showing a red strike ball outside of the strike zone box has White Sox nation thinking that the UMPS ARE AGAINST US!
Maybe….but why? Why do they do this to our guy?
I have a few theories……
He’s too beautiful
It cannot be disputed that our guy Yoan Moncada is a beautiful man. This sort of thing can play a couple of different ways, amongst men. 1) Depending on numerous factors, a very handsome man can end up unanimously and unspoken respect and admiration from his fellow man. This generally leads to this person getting the benefit of the doubt when a decree is close in nature. There are other ways to gain “benefit of the doubt” but it is usually at least some part genetics paired with other personality characteristics. This ain’t what’s happening here, it’s likely 2) Jealousy. Men, especially older, overweighter and less attractiver men will go out of their way to slight the handsome adonis. The jealous fellas will sometimes ban together to employ their influence against Mr. Handsome. Maybe this is what is happening here. Maybe all of the umpire groupies are suddenly taking an interest in Yoan. Maybe Country Joe West’s side piece made mention of Yoan Moncada’s handsomeness and it didn’t sit well with him so he spread the word amongst the other umps who are protective of their mistresses (umpire mistresses is probably more of a TMZ article than a 108 article, but I figure it’s worth touching on at least) as well, so they’ll do anything in their power to make this dude look bad, less attractive.
He’s a rookie…on the White Sox
You hear this as a common theory as to why young players don’t get calls. It is more of an inverse theory, the real theory is that veterans get more calls. I don’t know if this has ever been studied, but it would seem human nature that SOME veterans will eventually get the benefit of the doubt from umpires (or officials in any sport for that matter). Some combination of relationship building with said officials and / or excellence at your craft will get you additional calls which Yoan clearly isn’t getting at this point. Look, Yoan’s estimation of the strike zone is excellent, but he’s not Barry Bonds (yet) where umpires pretty much know if Barry didn’t swing, it’s not a strike. He’s got a long way to go to get to that point. Also, he plays for the White Sox and although we’d all like to assume professionals do their job just as well no matter the conditions, umpiring White Sox games might not incentivize umpires to be at the top of their game. Tanking may or may not effect parts of the game that we don’t even think about, particularly those parts that involve the umpires getting to Chicago Cut 5 minutes earlier. I’d suggest Yoan not complain at all about these terrible calls, I suggest he do something to ingratiate hisself with the umpire crew. Maybe buy them a nice bottle of wine or possibly some Cuban cigars, i dunno.
Velocity is tough on Umps
I love Joe Sheehan. He’s 100% my favorite baseball writer. The two things I like best about Joe Sheehan are…1) He has a gift for words. He can really write in a way that his writings stick with you. He entertains while he is driving a point home. This is important, its the reason why I happily pay for his writings. A LOT (too many) people are writing the same type of articles, but his make me laugh. 2) Joe thinks deeply about the game and comes up with theories about the game that start off as esoteric and sooner or later become mainstream as people start to come to similar conclusions. One of these conclusions is that increased Velocity is the main problem in baseball’s playability issue. One of the tenets of this theory is the rise in “framing” or as Joe might call it “umpire fooling”. The theory goes like this, the human eye, even selected for the most talented of person (in theory, MLB umpires) is not equipped to accurately judge a baseball with this level of velocity, so they are easily fooled by a catcher that can appropriately set up to fool them. Not to mention general errors made by an umpire who isn’t being fooled, but who is being told that games are too long by the dumb fucking commissioner. Yoan complicates this problem a bit, but just taking too many pitches. Swinging at more hittable pitches and crushing them should help (at least partially) alleviate this potential issue.
Got any theories why Umpires Hate Yoan Moncada?
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