A casual look at the season statistics for the Lexington Legends last season will show that Adalberto Mondesi had a relatively solid year. In his time in Lexington, Mondesi produced a .261/.311/.361 batting line, with seven home runs and 24 stolen bases. Mondesi managed to lead the Naturals in batting average, but struck out 118 times against 34 walks. Solid numbers, but there is room for improvement. Then, looking closer, it is noticed that Mondesi was the youngest player in the South Atlantic League at only 17 years old, putting up those numbers in a league where most players are between the ages of 19 to 21.
Playing against advanced competition in a full season minor league, Mondesi managed to hold his own quite well. He displayed solid power and speed while not appearing to be overmatched. The potential for improvement is still there, particularly when it comes to decreasing his strikeout rate, but Mondesi’s performance was fairly impressive considering how young he is.
As good as Adalberto Mondesi played last season, improvement may not be difficult. Mondesi only hit ground balls in 41.6% of his at bats, below the league average of 44.6%. Mondesi also only hit line drives 14.7% of the time, below the league average of 16.9%. As Mondesi matures and his approach at the plate improves, both numbers are likely to improve as well. With his speed and ability to drive the ball, Mondesi could easily see his batting line improve dramatically.
Defensively, Mondesi has a solid arm and excellent range and hands. While he may not have his father’s arm, Mondesi still has a strong enough arm where he should be able to remain at short, and the instincts and fielding ability to perform well there. Although his defensive statistics do not jump off the page, a .934 fielding percentage and a 3.94 range factor, this is another case where the statistics do not quite give a true measure of Mondesi’s ability.
Adalberto Mondesi is still an extremely raw prospect, but he is a prospect with a lot of potential. He does have a decent approach at the plate, which should be able to be refined as he progresses through the minors. His speed indicates that he should become an excellent base stealer once he works on his technique. While he may not be a power hitter, he has the potential to be a bit above average in the power department, a departure from the types of shortstops that the Royals have traditionally had.
Mondesi appears to be on the fast track to the majors. With his performance for Lexington last season, it is likely that he will begin the season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Should he show signs of improvement and continue to develop as he had over the past season, it is even possible that Mondesi could find himself in AA by the end of 2014, an impressive accomplishment for a player that will still only be 18 when the minor league season ends.
After years of having shortstops that have not contributed much offensively, Adalberto Mondesi may be a revelation. At the pace he is on, it would not be a surprise to see Mondesi make an appearance in September of 2015 before seizing command of the starting shortstop job in 2016.