Yolmer Sanchez is a fun player who offers positional versatility and above average defense across the infield. However, he has very little value aside from this due to his offensive limitations. Despite this, when the White Sox decided to move Yoan Moncada to third base prior to the 2019 season, it was a foregone conclusion that Yolmer Sanchez would be the everyday second baseman for the foreseeable future.
Sanchez is an ideal bench player who can step in and start when you need him to due to his defensive prowess. Starting him every day at second base, however, is shortsighted. With 1,883 MLB plate appearances under his belt, we know who Sanchez is as a hitter at this point. He could improve marginally, but not enough to the point where he works himself into projected starting lineups for 2021 and beyond. The decision to move Moncada to third base, questionable as is given that Moncada’s range and potential offensive value will both become less valuable at the hot corner, is the club conspicuously making room for Nick Madrigal at second base, whenever he should arrive. In the meantime, Yolmer Sanchez should be relegated to a bench role and Jose Rondon should be playing consistently at second base.Embed from Getty Images
If I were tasked with creating a lineup out of the current White Sox roster, I would put Moncada at second base and Rondon at third base. Each player profiles better at those positions, in my opinion. Regardless, Rondon, a natural shortstop, is a capable second baseman. I believe that he should be given more playing time as Nick Madrigal develops in the minors because, unlike with Sanchez, the White Sox do not know that they have in Rondon. Last year, Rondon slugged .497 in Charlotte playing primarily as a shortstop at age 24. This combination of power and the ability to be competent defensively at a demanding position is intriguing, since shortstops are generally not major power threats. Rather than give Yolmer Sanchez another 650+ plate appearances, the White Sox should explore playing Rondon regularly at second base (and occasionally at shortstop and third base, if necessary) in order to see if his power translates to the big league level. In a small sample size last season, Rondon produced 8 barrels in 107 plate appearances, good for a 7.5% rate comfortably above the league average of 6.1%.
Jose Rondon is out of minor league options, meaning he has to break camp with the big league roster or the team will have to risk losing him via the waivers process. We know what Yolmer Sanchez is, so I do not see the point in giving him daily starts in lieu of Rondon, who will likely be on the roster anyway and has some interesting power potential. If he starts at second base and actually hits for decent power, then the White Sox will have a solid infield swingman, trade chip, or perhaps even starter for the future. If he starts and is poor, then the only thing the team lost was some playing time for a veteran player who has likely already hit his ceiling. It’s a no-brainer.