Black MLB Players #22: Adalberto Mondesi

Background + Path To The MLB

Adalberto Mondesi is a twenty-five year old Dominican shortstop who plays for the Kansas City Royals. He was born in Los Angeles, California, but was raised in San Cristobal, a city in the Dominican Republic. He is the son of former major leaguer Raúl Mondesi, who played 13 years in the MLB. Adalberto was a well regarded amateur prospect as he reached eligibility to be signed as an international free agent, and on the day he turned 16 he signed with the Kansas City Royals for $2 million dollars during the 2011 J2 signing period.

Adalberto Mondesi’s professional baseball career started in 2012, where he debuted in the Dominican Summer League, where most young international prospects are sent to begin their development and pro careers. Despite average at best statistical performance, the Kansas City Royals were pleased with his development during his tenure in the minor leagues and he was thought of highly by scouts, journalists, and others throughout the various realms of baseball. Mondesi made a steady climb through the minor leagues, consistently playing against competition that was 4–5 years older than him at each level. Scouts complimented him for his quick hands/bat speed, good defensive actions at shortstop, at top of the scale speed that led to a great baserunning ability. He was also lauded for his maturity. Mondesi was labeled as a top 100 prospect by many reputed sources due to the tools I just talked about, as he has the potential to be an elite leadoff hitter and an All Star level shortstop, which is extremely valuable.

Mondesi playing for the Lexington Legends, a minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals

During the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals, Adalberto Mondesi became the first player in MLB history to make his major league debut in the World Series. Mondesi was brought up to be a pinch runner due to his 80 grade speed and elite athleticism, and also provide versatility for the Kansas City Royals as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement whenever they played on the home field of the New York Mets, since they would be playing under National League rules where the pitcher must swing the bat.

Mondesi’s MLB debut, which came in the World Series!!!!

Mondesi got the opportunity to start at second base for the Kansas City Royals during the 2016 season due to a strong performance during Spring Training, but struggled offensively, so he was sent back to the minor leagues. From this point onwards, Mondesi has struggled to establish himself as a fulltime player at the MLB level primarily due to injuries, along with inconsistent offensive performance. The MLB season lasts for 162 games, and the only time Mondesi has ever played anywhere close to a full season was during the shortened 2020 season, where he played in 59 of the 60 games. Getting as many reps as possible each year is imperative for professional baseball players to improve and progress, as missing time due to injury just makes it that much more difficult for players to learn, adjust, and apply changes to the various facets of their game.

Player Profile

Adalberto Mondesi is 6'1'’, weighs 200 pounds, and he is a switch hitter, so whatever side of the plate he hits is dependent on the handedness of the pitcher he is facing. From a pure hitting standpoint, Mondesi has not put together a full season of above average performance, despite his potential. His splits against both right handed and left handed pitchers are a bit lacking, although he is a lot better against left handed pitchers. He has quick hands, and is very athletic, with the ability to rotate his hips and use his lower body to create good bat speed.

Mondesi’s issues offensively start with the fact that he does not make effective contact in order to put the ball in play and use his speed to turn singles into doubles and turn line drives that make it to the outfield gaps into triples. He makes contact at a rate well below MLB averages, and due to his approach, he does not drive the ball consistently. Adalberto also has issues controlling the strikezone, as his K% has hovered around 30% for his career and has never posted a walk rate higher than 5%. Mondesi’s average exit velocities have hovered in the high eighties, peaking at around ninety miles per hour, so he has the bat speed to be competitive. Adalberto needs to drive the ball in the air more frequently, whether it be via flyballs or line drives, and also figure out the swing and miss issues in his game.

Adalberto Mondesi is one of the best baserunners in the MLB, being able to put up numbers over short stints at the MLB level that other elite baserunners compile in a full season. Over the last three seasons, Mondesi has played in 75/162 games in 2018, 102/162 games in 2019, and 59/60 games in 2020. He stole 32 bases in 2018, 43 bases in 2019, and 24 bases in 2020. He has top of the scale speed, and is literally one of the fastest individuals in professional baseball. Mondesi has a career On-Base Percentage of 28%, and is still able to provide an elite amount of value as a baserunner in relation to the rate with which he is able to even attempt to accumulate value. He can easily go from first to third/home, and second to home.

Mondesi has the range, hand-eye coordination, arm strength, and athleticism to stick at shortstop long term. He can make every play a shortstop needs to be able to make, as it is the most valuable defensive position on the diamond(besides catcher). With his plus-plus speed, body control, and throwing arm he can make plays deep in the hole to his arm side and also snag balls up the middle to his glove side(left).

Conclusion

While Adalberto Mondesi is not a finished product, and has a lot of holes in his game, he still has youth and a massive ceiling. A high baseball IQ, elite speed, strength, etc. are all tantalizing tools for a young pro baseball player to have, especially a shortstop. The only thing stopping Adalberto Mondesi from providing value is that he is extremely injury prone. Despite this, I felt that he deserves coverage because he is an exciting player to watch regardless of his various struggles, and I would not be surprised if he figured everything out sooner or later. There is a reason why Mondesi was the first player in MLB history to be called up to make his debut during a World Series, and that is because he has the tools to be a great player at the MLB level.

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Patrick Ellington Jr.

Patrick Ellington Jr.

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I use this blog to cover Black baseball players from all over the African diaspora in MiLB & MLB and review TV series, films, novels, comic books, anime,. etc.