Moncada, Dunning have one thing in common -- they're hot White Sox prospects

 
 
Updated 5/4/2017 7:07 PM
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  • The Chicago White Sox are keeping close tabs on two prospects acquired in off-season trades. Second baseman Yoan Moncada, above, is living up to his reputation at Class AAA Charlotte and starting pitcher Dane Dunning is thriving at the Class A level.

    The Chicago White Sox are keeping close tabs on two prospects acquired in off-season trades. Second baseman Yoan Moncada, above, is living up to his reputation at Class AAA Charlotte and starting pitcher Dane Dunning is thriving at the Class A level.

They are completely different, yet so much the same.

Yoan Moncada is a Cuba native, and the Chicago White Sox's top minor-league prospect is thriving at Class AAA Charlotte, the organization's top farm team.

Dane Dunning is a Florida native, and he is quickly making a name for himself in the lower levels of the Sox's minor league system.

Moncada and Dunning play different positions, the former is a second baseman and the latter a starting pitcher.

But they both have one common goal -- eventually making an impact with the White Sox.

For Moncada, the key acquisition from the Boston Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade, the Triple-A numbers indicate he's equipped to join the White Sox right now.

"Yes, of course," Moncada said through an interpreter on Thursday when asked if he's ready. "I feel ready and I'm just waiting for that call. I've been doing my job here."

Moncada, a 21-year-old switch-hitter, is on fire at Triple-A. Heading into Thursday night's game against Norfolk, he was 15-for-38 during a nine-game hitting streak, and Moncada was tied for the International League lead with 19 runs scored while ranking second with 28 hits, third with 5 home runs and 6 stolen bases, seventh with a .406 on-base percentage and eighth with a .330 batting average.

"I've been working hard, a lot, in practice, in the cages, just to try to have the same approach and the same focus on both sides of home plate," Moncada said. "I think the results are there. I've been working really hard to improve."

Adding more defensive polish at second base and cutting down the strikeouts (31 in 94 at-bats) are still on Moncada's to-do list at Charlotte, but the guess here is he's on the White Sox's roster before the all-star break.

"My focus right now is just to play and do my job in Charlotte because that's something I can control," Moncada said. "They're going to make that call whenever they think it's the right time. For me, it's just about doing my job in Charlotte."

While Moncada was the top add in the Sale trade, Dunning was the least heralded of the three starters acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade.

Lucas Giolito has struggled at Charlotte and rotation mate Reynaldo Lopez has been up and down.

Dunning, meanwhile, was quickly promoted to high Class A Winston-Salem after going 2-0 with a 0.35 ERA in 4 starts at low A Kannapolis.

In his first start at Winston-Salem, Dunning pitched 5 scoreless innings. The 22-year-old righty has not allowed an earned run over his last 30.1 innings.

"Honestly, I haven't even looked at my stats or anything or realized it," Dunning said on Thursday. "People keep telling me, but I'm trying to avoid thinking about it and stuff. I'm just trying to go out there and help my team get W's and put on a good performance for my teammates. I'm really not worried about my stats at all."

Dunning doesn't have the big arm like the other two starters from the Nationals trade, Giolito and Lopez, but he is showing the Sox he knows how to pitch.

"I'm quick-tempoed," said Dunning, Washington's first-round draft pick (No. 29 overall) last year out of the University of Florida. "I try to pitch off my fastball, locate my fastball on both sides of the plate, get quick groundball outs, and if I get opportunities for a strikeout I try to take them."

As for making it to the White Sox's starting rotation, Dunning is not worried about making a mad dash.

"Ultimately, the goal is to be able to dominate in Chicago up in the big leagues," he said. "But as of right now, just consistently progress throughout my time. Go out there and take it one game at a time. Pitch one pitch at a time and just have fun and play to the best of my abilities. If I stay here or if I move up, as long as I play baseball I'm happy."

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