MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on February 23, 2020 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be…

6. Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox

If you can get past his very indifferent contact rate, projecting Yoan Moncada as a batting champion is easy.

For starters, he’s a 25-year-old coming off a 2019 season in which he batted .315 for the White Sox. That was the American League’s third-best showing behind D J LeMahieu and Moncada’s infield teammate, Tim Anderson.

He based that on a 47.9 percent hard-hit rate, which is solidly in the game’s top 10 percent. And few hit the ball harder than Moncada’s 92.8 mph average exit velocity, a real asset when the question is whether a ball finds its way through an infield defense.

Moncada is a switch hitter, and teams love to shift against him when he bats from the left side. They did it more than half the time in 2019, although it didn’t seem to hurt Moncada. He hit.322 against right-handers in 2019, just .299 against left-handers.

The problem Moncada still needs to address is contact consistency. In 2019 he struck out 154 times, more than one-quarter of his plate appearances. It’s hard to make use of exit velocity and all of Moncada’s other strengths if he doesn’t put the ball in play.